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Public Works

Snow Removal FAQs

Why doesn't the County plow my street when they go by?

Routes are plowed on a priority basis with arterial roadways, collector roadways, and school routes being top priorities. Clearing those roadways first enables emergency services to gain access into all residential areas normally with a few blocks of each residence.

Are cul-de-sacs plowed after every storm?

Local streets and cul-de-sacs are plowed after every storm unless the snow is expected to melt over the following 24 hours. An exception is made if the street has hills and curves that could become hazardous to motorists. On heavy storms, snow may not be removed until the following day after arterials and collectors are plowed.

Who is responsible for clearing sidewalks?

Residents are responsible for clearing driveways and sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowstorm to allow safe use by pedestrians. This is particularly important along school pedestrian routes to prevent children from having to walk in the street. It is required that owners place snow from their driveways and sidewalks onto their front yard and not into the street. This practice reduces the number of icy areas on streets and ensures proper drainage flow into the storm sewer. Additionally, your lawn can use the available moisture over the winter.

After the storm, the snowplow came through and pushed snow back into my driveway entrance, why?

Cleanup and widening operations often take place one to four days after the snowstorm, depending upon the severity of the storm and wind conditions. It is often necessary to widen roads to ensure that ice and snow melt from the pavement surface to keep driving lanes open. Unfortunately, subsequent widening operations may push snow back onto sidewalks and driveways.

What if I have an emergency and my street isn’t plowed?

If an emergency situation occurs, call 911. Equipment will be diverted for emergencies ONLY WHEN REQUESTED BY AN EMERGENCY SERVICE AGENCY OR THE DOUGLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. The Sheriff’s Department is in constant communication with PW Ops personnel during snow events so snow removal equipment can be detoured to assist with emergency response. It should be noted that it is a crime to make a false emergency request.

Who is responsible for damaged mailboxes?

Mailboxes installed along roadways are at the risk of the owner. Mailboxes damaged from lack of owner maintenance, heavy snow from plowing, or vandalism is not the responsibility of the County. Postal regulations require residents to clear snow from in front of mailboxes to allow for mail delivery. Douglas County encourages the clustering of individual mailboxes to minimize potential damage during snowstorms and allows for mail to be delivered efficiently. To learn more about mailbox clustering, please call 303-660-7480.

How many Snow Removal Districts are in unincorporated Douglas County and what equipment is available?

Douglas County has six snow removal districts located geographically throughout the County. Each district has assigned personnel and equipment with responsibility for the roads within that particular district. Douglas County snowplow units are white with the Douglas County logo. Motor graders are yellow with the Douglas County logo on the side.

What can I expect regarding snow removal prior to, during and after the storm?

 During heavy snowstorms, plows will often clear lanes simultaneously.

  • Multiple snowplows often plow together to remove snow from multi-lane streets. This results in more efficient operation and eliminates piles of snow in the roadway that may become obstructions to vehicles. When you see this process in action, please give equipment adequate room to operate. Do not drive within a snowplow operator’s blind spot as he/she is not able to see you. For personal safety, never pass a snowplow that is engaged in snow removal. Snow and ice that comes off the plow blade can damage your vehicle or greatly obstruct your vision. Passing an operating snowplow in “echelon formation” with two or more snowplows arranged diagonally is now a Class A traffic offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100.
  • Douglas County clears all roadways according to priority until conditions are safe for travel. Cul-de-sacs and some local streets may not be plowed if accumulations are minor and snow is expected to melt over the following 24-hours. Exceptions to this are made if the streets have hills or curves that may become icy and hazardous to traffic.
  • Subdivision streets are not plowed if parked vehicles or other obstructions interfere with the safe and continuous operation of snow removal equipment. Equipment may return to plow after obstructions are moved. When a snowstorm is forecast, residents are advised to move vehicles off the street if a snowstorm is forecast to allow safe access by snowplows.
  • Depending upon temperatures, wind velocities and the extent of snowmelt, crews may have to widen travel lanes, remove ice, and perform other operations for up to several days after a snow event. Snow from adjacent properties can melt and re-freeze overnight, creating ice buildup on the street. To report ice buildup on a street, please call 303-660-7480.

Citizen Responsibilities during and after snowstorms include sidewalk shoveling, snow placement, and vehicle removal.

There are many roads running through Douglas County – who is responsible for which roads?

Douglas County is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 2,409 lane miles of roads in unincorporated areas of the County. Of these roads, approximately 1,817 lane miles are paved and 592 lane miles are gravel. Roads within incorporated municipalities are maintained by each respective municipality.

In addition, there are many roads within the County that are privately maintained.

Seven major state highways pass through Douglas County which are maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation.   These highways are:

  • Interstate 25
  • C-470
  • Highway 86
  • Highway 85
  • Highway 83
  • A portion of Highway 67 from Highway 85 to Rampart Range Road
  • A portion of Highway 67 from Deckers to Woodland Park
  • A portion of Highway 105 from Highway 67 to Wolfensberger Road
  • E-470 is maintained by the E-470 Highway Authority

How does Douglas County plan for snow removal?

Planning for Snow Removal – Each Storm Calls for a Unique Approach which includes: 

  • Number of snowplows and personnel required:
    The number of personnel and type of snow removal equipment are determined based upon the anticipated strength of the storm. Personnel from PW Ops and other County departments are deployed when the snow starts falling.
  • Number of shifts and length of shifts for drivers:
    Snow removal personnel are notified of anticipated start times based upon available weather data. Douglas County typically assigns personnel to two 12-hour shifts with the major workforce deployed during the daylight hours to assist rush-hour traffic. A limited number of units are deployed during evening hours to keep roads open, continue widening operations, and to respond to requests for emergency assistance. If you have an emergency during a snowstorm, call 911 for assistance.
  • Determining what products are most appropriate for the road surfaces:
    Douglas County utilizes both liquid and granular de-icing products depending upon the location of the road, the temperature of the pavement, and potential for re-freezing. Liquid anti-icing products are sometimes applied to arterial roadways (major roadways) prior to snowstorms. Anti-icing products can only be applied when temperatures are suitable. These products help to minimize the bonding of snow to pavement surfaces. Granular deicers are applied to melt snow and ice whenever present. Materials containing a blend of salt and sand are often applied to roadways to provide extra traction at curves, hills, and intersections.