COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Crews across central Ohio are ready for the first significant winter storm of the year, vowing to be out as long as it takes to clear the roads.

I-670 was one of many roads the Ohio Department of Transportation pretreated leading up to Sunday’s storm.

ODOT crews began pretreating the roads with the salt and water mixture Thursday, and trucks loaded up in the department’s Westerville garage Sunday.

The plan is to have ODOT crews working on the interstates, state routes, and U.S. routes throughout central Ohio, with drivers working throughout the night.

However, like many other industries, ODOT is seeing a driver shortage, which the department said could result in a longer clear time for some routes.

“One plow route takes anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes,” said ODOT spokesperson Brooke Ebersole. “When we didn’t have this driver shortage, one plow driver was assigned one route. Now because we are facing this significant deficit, one driver is taking two, sometimes even three routes.”

As a result of the driver shortage, Ebersole is asking drivers to remain patient as crews do their best to tackle the roads.

“Stay off the road if you can to allow for those essential workers to get where they need to go, that’s your doctors and nurses,” Ebersole said. “So that our plows also can get where they need to go.”

The city of Columbus will have more than 40 drivers ready to tackle the city’s streets Sunday night.

“It’s changing by the second,” Robert Fusner, an equipment operator for the Columbus Department of Public Service, said of the weather conditions.

According to the Columbus Department of Public Service, employees from other city departments are helping out to make sure a full team is working on the roads.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther paid a visit to the department as crews prepared to hit the streets.

“Really ask for patience, ask for folks to slow down and stay off the roads unless they absolutely have to go out,” he said.

The mayor also wants to remind residents that main roads and roads near places like hospitals are going to get cleared by crews before residential roads.