PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Due to the statewide shortage of snowplow operators, Washington County officials say crews will focus on plowing priority routes first in the event of a major snowstorm.

Priority routes include major corridors and routes used by emergency services.

The staff shortage likely means that it will take longer to clear roads during the winter months — Washington County says their road-crew staff is down 25%.

“Though we may not be able to match the level of service that we’ve achieved in the past, we are prepared to work around the clock to clear and sand roads,” said Keith Lewis, the operations superintendent for the county.

“We ask travelers to be patient and take precautions if they must use the roads during wintery conditions,” added Todd Watkins, an operations and maintenance division manager with Washington County. “Our crews will be hard at work.”

This comes after the Oregon Department of Transportation told KOIN 6 News they’re also facing an operator shortage.

“We’re down in snowplow drivers right now. We’re going to see a decline in the ability to get the roads cleared,” said Don Hamilton, spokesperson for ODOT. “People are going to need to remember that it’s not going to be as quick as we’d like to do.”