Town’s Snow Removal Team Ready For Winter
Frost has been in the air more than once in recent weeks, signaling winter weather is just around the corner. To prepare, the Town of Estes Park has been busy readying its fleet for snow and icy conditions. While many communities do not plow residential streets or prioritize them last, the Town of Estes Park plows all of its approximately 225 residential streets within Town limits, after emergency routes are clear. That means plowing approximately 57 miles of streets, 12.5 miles of sidewalks, 12 miles of trails and 15 parking lots.
When sufficient snowfall or icy conditions exist, a snow removal team comprised of Town employees from Public Works and several other Town departments is called into action. There are 12 plow drivers assigned to the routes, with 16 back-up drivers trained to fill in when needed. Emergency routes are the team’s first priority and they include access streets to hospitals and schools, downtown streets including MacGregor Avenue, Big Horn Drive and Riverside Drive, as well as Peak View Drive, Scott Avenue and any other streets that must remain accessible for police or fire emergencies. Plowing along emergency routes typically begins between 4 and 7 a.m. Drivers make a first pass along each route, which takes about five hours, and then make additional passes as needed. If snowfall ends, plows generally stop running by 3:30 p.m.
State-managed highways U.S. 34, U.S. 36 and CO Highway 7 are plowed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). This includes Elkhorn and Moraine Avenues.
Residents and business owners also have responsibilities during snowy and icy conditions. Things to remember:
• When plows begin clearing snow, vehicles parked along designated snow routes will be towed at the owner’s expense; signs are posted along these routes.
• Plows must push snow to the roadway edge, which may cause a ridge of snow to be deposited at private driveways. The Town’s snow removal team cannot clear private driveways. Residents who are unable to clear their own driveways are encouraged to contact local private contractors who provide this service.
• Downtown business owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their businesses. By law, snow removed from any sidewalk or driveway may not be deposited into the roadway. Doing so can create dangerous conditions for drivers.
• Keep in mind that snowplows are less maneuverable than other vehicles; other motorists should give them plenty of room.
• Drive safely and use vehicle headlights during winter weather conditions.