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County snow removal procedures for 2010–2011

With the arrival of snow season, the Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department is providing information to the public regarding snow removal operations.

Archuleta County Road and Bridge plows approximately 340 miles of roads. County roads are categorized on a priority basis.

Roads with higher priorities, such as school bus routes, are plowed first. Remaining roads are plowed based on priority and route efficiencies.

Both primary and secondary roads will be plowed.

Snow removal crews normally begin clearing the roads at 2 a.m., although some lower priority roads may not be cleared the day of the storm. Hills are sanded for safety as required.

Normal circumstances

• Typically, plowing operations begin when there is snowfall accumulation in excess of four inches.

• On days without snow, crews will clean up and push back snow routes as needed. Not all roads will receive attention on those days.

• On regular working days, plowing operations typically begin at 2 a.m.

• Weekends and extended shift plowing will take place under the direction of the road and bridge superintendent.

Extreme circumstances

• County roads may not receive same-day snow removal. High priority roads will be plowed and kept open on extreme snow days.

• Lower priority roads may not receive attention on those days.

General snow removal operations

Usually there are two separate snow removal operations:

1. The first is 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.

2. The second operation 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 — for example by plowing snow off private drives, piling construction materials or timber, or placing trash carts in the right of way — 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 subject to prosecution and vehicle impoundment.

Safety concerns

Kids have been playing in the snow banks left by the snow plow equipment, building snow caves and forts. This is a major concern for the safety of all children. Snow removal equipment is large and noisy and designed to move an enormous amount of snow. Please warn children about the dangers of playing in the snow banks.

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 for any person 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.

Driving safety

Slow down and use caution around snow removal equipment. Keep a safe distance when following equipment to avoid flying snow and sanding material. Stay out of vehicles’ blind spots. Drive with your headlights on. Flashing blue lights on a vehicle indicates an emergency. It is illegal to pass an emergency vehicle.

Helpful phone numbers

Emergency — 911.

Road and Bridge — 264-5660.

Sheriff’s department — 264-8340.

Archuleta Dispatch — 264-2131.

Road and weather conditions — 264-5555.