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Hardin County short on employees, equipment ahead of weekend's winter weather

The county is planning to use volunteers, as well as jail employees and inmates, to help clear the roadways during this weekend's winter weather.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Officials in Hardin County said their road department is dealing with a "worst-case scenario" ahead of this weekend's anticipated winter weather.

In a press release, Public Affairs Officer Leslie Ashlock said the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases has led to a rising number of employee shortages.

Hardin County Deputy Judge and Executive Daniel London said there are 10 positive COVID cases within the road department, including all of the department's mechanics.

"We are facing unprecedented challenges before the snow even arrives this round, rather than the potential for challenges during the snowstorm we anticipated last week," London said.

The county is also short on equipment. London said one of the department's dump trucks is out of service after it crashed last week and new trucks that were ordered a year and a half ago still have not arrived.

"It is not all bad news, however," London said in a statement. He said the county is planning to use volunteers to help with any cleanup needed this weekend. 

In addition, Hardin County Jailer Josh Lindblom said the jail will allow experienced employees and inmates to help clear county government properties so the road department can focus on the roads.

"It's great when you live and work in a county that can come together with strong leadership and dedicated individuals," Lindblom said.

Charlie Wise is a volunteer. He was stuck in last week’s snowstorm.

"We're here to help,” Wise said. “We want the safest streets we can have, so if some of us can help out in this situation and keep them safe, that's what we need to do.”

He was a volunteer firefighter years ago, has a Commercial Driver's License and has even worked on clearing snow in the past.

"Not the young person I used to be, but I can get in that truck and take it down the road,” Wise said.

Six of the 13 volunteers are CDL-certified, and will be in the bigger trucks; the others will be in the smaller ones.

Ashlock said all the volunteers went through extensive training, but she still asked for understanding.

"We are asking for patience and grace from our community,” Ashlock said. “We're going to have a lot of drivers who aren't familiar with our snow routes, so it's going to take us a little more time to clear the roads."

And as always, if you don't need to be on the roads, don't be.

Ashlock said tomorrow crews will start salting the roads.

"You just gotta be ready to go when it starts falling,” Wise said.

County leaders are urging residents to prepare for the approaching winter weather. Non-emergency concerns or issues can be reported using TextMyGov.

As of Friday morning, the snow is forecast to be heaviest along and south of the Kentucky Parkways. The most snow is expected to fall Saturday night into Sunday.

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