Before you complain, know the guidelines

With Monday’s storm dropping nearly a foot of snow in many parts of Pagosa Springs, and storms expected to leave more yet before week’s end, Archuleta County Road and Bridge crews have been plowing the 340 miles of roads in the county road system.

For plowing purposes, county roads are categorized on a priority basis. Roads ranked as higher priorities — such as school bus routes — are plowed first. Remaining roads are plowed based on priority and route efficiencies. Both county primary and secondary roads will be plowed. In addition, hills are sanded for safety, as required.

Under normal circumstances, plowing operations begin when snow accumulation exceeds four inches. On days without snow, crews clean up and push back snow routes as needed. Not all roads receive attention on those days. On regular working days, plowing operations typically begin at 2 a.m. Weekends and extended shift plowing occur under the direction of the county’s road and bridge superintendent.

Under extreme circumstances and severe weather conditions, county roads may not receive same-day snow removal. First priority roads will be plowed and kept open on extreme snow days while lower priority roads may not receive attention on those days.

General snow removal operations

Usually, there are two separate snow removal operations. The first occurs during the storm itself when trucks plow to keep 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 stage begins when the storm abates. It consists of widening the traveled portion of the road, pushing snow back and plowing out wide spots on the roadways. It may be several days between the first plowing and final cleanup.

Each 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. This is the responsibility of each individual resident or business. Reasonable effort is made to plow in a manner that will minimize the snow that is remaining.

Property owners who create hazards in a public right of way, such as plowing snow off private drives, improperly piling construction materials or timber, or improperly placing trash carts, may be subject to prosecution under C.R.S. 43-5-301. A property owner may also be liable for any injury attributable to a hazard or the removal of a hazard that has been created in a public right of way. Vehicle owners and property owners who leave vehicles in a public right of way are also subject to prosecution and vehicle impoundment.

Roadside parking

Parking is prohibited along all county roads and within any county road right of way. Roadside parking inhibits thorough plowing and vehicles will be towed without notice.

Private plowing

It is unlawful to deposit snow plowed from a private driveway, road or any other source, onto any county road or right of way per Colorado Revised Statue 43-5-301.

Homeowners and contractors are advised not to push snow across a County road at any time.

Trash carts

Trash carts should be placed in the driveway, a minimum of five feet behind the front of the snow berm, to minimize the possibility of being knocked over. Trash carts that are knocked over are not the responsibility of the county.

For further information, call 264-5660 or visit the county Web site at