Snow & Ice

Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department
2016 – 2017 Snow Removal Press Release

In preparation for the upcoming snow season, the Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department would like to provide information to the public regarding snow removal operations.

Archuleta County Road and Bridge plows approximately 340 miles of roads and strives to open roads as quickly as possible. While use several strategies are used to meet this goal, time is still required to clear roads. County Roads that have been categorized as high priorities, such as school bus routes, are plowed first. The remaining roads are plowed based on priority and route efficiencies. Both Primary and Secondary Roads will be plowed. Although snow removal crews normally begin clearing the roads at 2:00 am, some of the lower priority roads may not be cleared the day of the storm. Hills are sanded for safety as required. Typically, plowing operations begin when there is snowfall accumulation in excess of 4 inches. On days without snow, crews will cleanup and push back snow banks as needed. All roads may not receive attention on cleanup days.

SNOW PLOWING SCHEDULE:
Under normal circumstances, plowing operations occurs on regular work days, starting at 2:00 a.m. Weekends and extended shift plowing may take place under the direction of the Public Works Director when considering impacts of total accumulation, current conditions and forecasts.

Under extreme circumstances, county roads may not receive same day snow removal. Only first priority roads will be plowed and kept open on excessive snow days. Lower priority roads may not receive attention on excessive snow days.

Schedules may be interrupted, or postponed due to unpredictable or unusual weather conditions, emergency situations, safety, and resources.

SNOW PLOWING OPERATIONS:
There are usually two different types of snow removal operations. The first occurs during the storm itself and consists of passes with the plows to keep the roads open. This includes clearing a path sufficient for two vehicles to pass. It also includes clearing cul-de-sacs enough to allow a vehicle to turn around. The second operation performs cleanup and preparation for the next snowfall. Secondary work begins when the storm subsides and consists of widening the traveled portion of the road, pushing snow back and plowing out wider areas on the roadways. It may be several days between the first and second plowing.

DRIVEWAY AND ACCESS ROAD SNOW BERMS:
The snow plowing operation may result in a berm of snow across private driveways or encroachments to county roads. The County does not have the resources to keep driveways clear or remove berms in front of driveways. While, reasonable effort is made to plow in a manner that will minimize the snow that is deposited in front of driveways, berm removal is the responsibility of each individual property owner.

SAFETY CONCERNS:
Children playing in the snow banks left by the snow plow equipment is a major safety concern. As you know these machines are big and can be pushing back snow banks any given time. Avoid tragedies and inform your children that building snow caves and playing on the berms is dangerous.

PROPERTIES:
Property owners must avoid creating hazards in a public Right-of-Way. Hazards include placing any objects such as timber, vehicles and trash carts on or near the side of the road. Offenses are prosecutable under C.R.S. §43-5-301 and the offender may be liable for injuries attributable to the hazards they have created in a public Right-of-Way.

ROADSIDE PARKING: 
Roadside parking inhibits plowing is prohibited along all County roads and within any County road Right-of-Way. Vehicles in the roadway during snow removal operations will be towed at the owner’s expense.

PRIVATE PLOWING: 
Homeowners and Contractors are cautioned that pushing snow across a County Road at any time can create hazards and are advised not to do so. It is unlawful for any person to deposit snow plowed from a private driveway, road or other source, onto county roads or Right-of-Ways per Colorado Statue §43-5-301 as revised.

TRASH CANS/CARTS:
Trash carts should be placed in the driveway, a minimum of five (5) feet behind the front of the snow berm to minimize the possibility of being knocked over. The County is not responsible for trash carts that are knocked over.

DRIVING SAFETY AROUND SNOW EQUIPMENT:
1. SLOW DOWN and use caution around snow removal equipment. 
2. Safe following distances behind the plow help you to avoid flying snow and sanding material. 
3. Stay out of the equipment’s blind spots! 
4. Turn your headlights on. 
5. Flashing Blue Lights on a truck indicate an emergency vehicle and it is illegal to pass.

HELPFUL PHONE NUMBERS: 
EMERGENCIES 911 
ROAD AND BRIDGE - 970-264-5660 
SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT - 970-264-8340 
ACHULETA DISPATCH - 970-264-2131 
ROAD & WEATHER - 970-264-5555