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Public Works

Snow Removal Priorities and Safety

Douglas County is responsible for snow removal in the unincorporated areas of Douglas County, including plowing roads and neighborhoods in Highlands Ranch and Sterling Ranch.   The Highlands Ranch Metro District is responsible for trails, community parking lots, and more.  In Sterling Ranch, the  Community Authority Board (CAB) removes snow in common areas, trails, shared drives, and alley areas.  If you have questions for your HOA about snow removal, please contact them directly.  For other jurisdiction snow and ice removal responsibilities please visit their  websites, listed below:

Snow Removal Plan

Because every snowstorm is different – temperature, moisture content, wind velocity, storm duration, etc. – we implement a snow removal plan unique to each storm. The primary focus is always on public safety.

Snow Removal Priorites

Priority 1 - Arterial Roadways

These are major roadways with high traffic volumes and high operating speeds that provide critical transportation and emergency access and links within the County. The majority of the County's snow removal equipment is needed to keep arterial roadways safe for travel. Crews will remain on arterial roadways until the snowstorm dissipates to ensure safe access for emergency vehicles, and provide adequate lane width for traffic, and minimize surface re-icing. There are 834 lane miles of arterial roadways considered to be a top priority for snow removal in the County's road network.

Emergency Facilities: access to fire stations, hospitals, Sheriff stations, and other emergency facilities are also plowed as a first priority.

Snow removal priority map

Priority 2 - Collector Roadways and School Bus Routes

When the snowfall has subsided and arterial roadways have been cleared, equipment is deployed to plow collector roadways and school bus routes. Collector roadways distribute traffic between arterial roadways and residential streets and often serve as links between subdivisions. Collector roadways normally do not provide direct access to private property.

Snow removal priority map

Priority 3 - Local Street and Cul-de-sacs

Local streets and cul-de-sacs provide for low and moderate traffic volumes within subdivisions and provide direct access to residences or private property. The plowing of local streets and cul-de-sacs is typically addressed after arterial and collector roadways have been cleared. All local streets and cul-de-sacs are plowed during every storm unless accumulations are minor and are expected to melt the following day. During heavy storms, snow may not be removed until the following day after arterials and collectors are plowed.

Snow removal priority map

Snowplow Safety – Colorado Law

In 2019 the Governor signed into law HB 2019-1265, increasing penalties for motorists who pass snowplows. Snowplows need space to work safely, so please give them adequate room to operate for your safety and that of the operators.

  • Snow and ice that comes off the plow blade can damage your vehicle or greatly obstruct your vision.
  • Do not drive within a plow operator’s blind spot, and never pass a snowplow that is engaged in snow removal.

For additional Colorado Winter Driving information click here.