(WJHL) — As the winter months approach, city and county officials are conducting their last checkups on their snow gear for this year.

The city of Johnson City has been preparing its trucks since October and has 3,700 tons of salt to use for this winter season. City leaders said they’re not worried about staffing drivers.

“We were fortunate enough that the commission and city management was able to adjust some of our CDL drivers here in the last six months, so we are a lot closer to being full,” said Assistant Director of Public Works for Johnson City, Andy Best.

When they were short on drivers before, officials would get help from other departments. The city has divided the area into eight zones with two trucks per zone.

“Johnson City’s responsible for all of the roads in the city, other than private, except the interstate, so we do not clean the interstate on-ramps,” said Best. “We do not clean the interstate, so that is the snow responsibility of that of TDOT.”

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has 212 salt trucks for the 24 counties of East Tennessee with about 64,000 tons of salt to distribute.

“TDOT is committed to keeping roads clear all year round, and especially when we get winter weather. Our crews will stay on the job as long as they are needed.”

TDOT Spokesperson

The Unicoi County Highway Department just received its trucks that were on backorder due to COVID-19 delays.

“Probably about a year and a half to get the two newest ones that’s behind me, and we just placed an order last week, and we have no idea when the other three will be here,” said Superintendent of Roads for Unicoi County, Terry Haynes. “But we’ve updated quite a bit with those.”

Unicoi County has 12 trucks to run routes during the winter months, but diesel prices might become an issue for how long they run.

“But, now we run around the clock. We don’t just stop,” said Haynes. “But, according to the diesel fuel and the prices and stuff, we may have to stop pushing snow around midnight and pick it back up about 4 a.m.”

Because of the diesel maintenance and prices, Haynes said they’ve switched most of their snow trucks over to gas, which has been a lot easier to manage.

Both Best and Haynes said it’s best during winter weather to stay off the roads as much as possible until they are able to get them all cleared and salted.