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Q) How does the city determine which streets to plow during a snow event? 

  • Main streets, or most streets with stripes, are the priority for Colorado Springs Public Works and our largest plows.  These are the streets that carry most of the city's traffic as well as emergency vehicles and public transportation.  The number of plows deployed and the option of pre-treating or anti-icing the streets depends on the weather conditions.
  • During major snow events when Colorado Springs receives 12 inches or more of snow accompanied by prolonged freezing temperatures, 4x4 plows may be deployed to simultaneously clear residential, or neighborhood, streets.

Q) When Will You Plow My Residential Street?

  • When the primary and secondary routes are cleared and safe for travel, the Operations & Maintenance Division may begin plowing and applying anti-skid by grid in residential areas where snowfall has exceeded 6".  This is after the storm has passed and snowfall has ceased.
  • The goal of the City of Colorado Springs Snow and Ice Control Plan is to maintain a safe flow of traffic throughout the City and ensure that each residential area is in close proximity to a plowed street.  Emphasis is also placed on ensuring emergency services can be provided throughout the city.

Q) Why did the plow push snow on my shoveled sidewalk/driveway?

  • Pushing snow onto sidewalks and driveways is an unfortunate consequence of plowing any street with heavy plows.  We have always been very forthcoming about this potential issue with the community and the feedback we receive is that the priority is to keep our streets passable and continue to plow the streets.
  • While re-depositing snow onto sidewalks by the plows doesn't happen very often, we are truly sorry when it does.  
  • We are constantly providing our drivers with feedback on their performance and ways to minimize the occurrence of snow on sidewalks.
  • We also encourage citizens who are healthy to assist neighbors who may need help shoveling. 
  • With a little preparation you can save your self from having to re-shovel your driveway after the plow goes by.  If you shovel a "pocket" to the right of your driveway it will leave a space for the plow to drop snow and keep your driveway clear.  

Q) How many large snow plows does Colorado Springs have in its fleet?

  • 50 Large Plows
  • 9 Small Plows
  • Four Motor Graders
  • 6 Loaders
  • Four Loaders at District Facilities to load material into the plows
  • "Full Call-Out" means anywhere from 36-40 plows, and four motor graders on the street, for a total of 40-44 pieces of heavy equipment.

Q) How many people does it take to run a snow shift?

  • 40 Plow Operators
  • Three Supervisors
  • 1 Manager
  • 1 Person at the operations Center
  • Total of 45 people working 12 hour shifts, 90 people for a 24 hour shift.

Q) How/When does Public Works use de-icing and anti-skid materials?

  • Public works uses three types of materials for snow operations.
  • Treated Salt is used to melt snow and ice at low temperatures and keeps ice from forming on the road surface after it has been plowed.
  • Anti-Skid is a mix of Sand and Salt and is used when the temperatures fall enough to decrease the effectiveness of de-icers.  The salt in the anti-skid helps to imbed the sand in the ice and the sand increases traction on icy roadways.  
  • Magnesium Chloride is a liquid de-icer that is very effective at melting ice when the temperature outside is above zero.  We use this material to help keep ice from bonding with the road surface and makes it easier to plow snow and ice from the roadway.  We also use Magnesium Chloride in conjunction with Salt to help activate the material before it hits the roadway which increases its effects on ice.  We also will "pre-wet" anti-skid with magnesium chloride which keeps the sand from blowing off the roadway and helps it to imbed into the snow and ice to increase traction.

Q) Why are there more potholes after the snow season?

  • During the winter, potholes are created when moisture seeps into cracks in the surface of a road and freezes, causing it to expand.  When the ice thaws that space is left empty, resulting in a hole in the pavement or a "pothole."
  • We encourage residents to call 385-ROAD to report any potholes.

Q) What should I do with my trash and recycling during snowy conditions?

  • DO shovel a path to your recycling cart and trash barrel.
  • DO keep these container off patches of ice for safety.
  • DO put your cart and trash barrel as far in the street as possible - not behind snow banks.
  • DO leave a 4' space on either side of your barrel and recycling cart allowing easy access by our trucks automated arms.
  • DON'T use cardboard boxes as a trash container.  This is always a "Don't" no matter what the weather conditions.
  • DON'T pile snow beside dumpsters.

Q) How can I help?

  • When you see a plow on the street, give the plow driver plenty of room to work.
  • When shoveling your vehicle out of an on-street parking spot, shovel the snow into your yard rather than into the street.  When the street is plowed, it is likely that the snow in the street will be pushed onto your vehicle.
  • If you are unable to shovel the snow into your yard, attempt to shovel it as close to the curb as possible.
  • Shovel snow into small piles instead of large piles.  This allows the sun to melt the piles quicker and prevents them from turning into dangerous ice banks.
  • Help others shovel.
  • Also, click on Your Part above to see more that you can do.  

Q) Snow plows are often seen driving on the streets with the plow blade up.  Why aren't these plows working to clear the roads?

  • Like any organized plan, snow plowing only works when everyone stays on track and on schedule.  Public works strategically deploys  resources to best meet the priorities of each snowfall. To be successful, plows absolutely must stick to their assignment and not take time to plow in between locations.  
  • Because they must travel in between route locations or back to their snow station, drivers must have their plow blades off the ground to stay on schedule.  Trucks must travel at much slower speeds when plowing, so when a truck is plowing where it isn't scheduled to work, it cannot reach its designated work assignment on time which can impact the progress of other plows in the area.
  • In cases where accumulations on the street are just beginning, or where streets have already been plowed, snowplows may drive with their plow up while applying deicing material.  To maximize effectiveness, the deicing material needs time to absorb into the snow/ice before it is plowed.