Town of Frederick News

Posted on: October 30, 2017

What Snow Plow Operators Wish You Knew

Snow Plowing in Frederick

Snow plowing looks simple, right? Big trucks, bunch of snow, zoom zoom, all clear, done. While it may look like a breeze from a distance, it’s actually something of an art, especially during challenging weather. Snow often changes as its falling, making the conditions of the road change as well. Wind can alter the way snow needs to be plowed as well. And, let’s face it, anyone driving heavy machinery in the dark, in the cold, in low visibility, on slippery roads, surrounded by other stationary and moving objects (and people) is pulling off a real feat of balance and timing. Plow operators are trained to go slow for safety purposes and to be able to place snow properly. Even when the speed limit is 25 mph, our drivers will be driving 10 to 15 mph slower. So, please be patient with us as we work to clear your roads in order to get you there safely.


Another thing to remember is this: snow plows can’t turn or stop on a dime. Even on wide open roads, it’s a challenge for the operator to clear the road, especially when conditions are bad. Now add cars, people and driveways and the challenges increase. It is much harder to plow a great deal of snow than a small accumulation. On heavy snow days, remember that each route takes a little longer and is more complex to do well. Factor that into your planning. This will lead to less frustration on everyone’s part. So what can you do?

 
1) Give the plow space, stay at least 200 feet back. This allows the operator to see you in his mirrors, and also keeps the material that is spread for traction and melting from being thrown into your car. Keep in mind, plows need to back up often to push back snow. If you drive to close behind them, they cannot see you.
2) If you park in the street, please stagger your parking. If your neighbor is parked in the street on one side, do not park straight across from his car. This narrows the street and makes it difficult to get a 12-foot wide plow through with the additional two to three feet of snow that is being pushed to the side while passing next to the cars.
3) Pedestrians should stay back at intersections. Plows cannot not stop quickly and could put you in harm’s way as well as the snow being pushed can flow up onto the sidewalk.
4) When plows go by your house or business, snow does get pushed in front of your driveways and parking area. This is not done intentionally. Operators cannot turn their plow at every driveway or parking stalls. It is suggested that sidewalks and driveways and parking areas wait until the plows go through.
5) Please do not shovel or push snow into the street. Our plows will be by to push it right back. We should not be fighting each other’s efforts. Snow needs to be kept on your property, and it is great to give your lawn the extra moisture.
6) Cul-de-sac plowing is difficult. Momentum and gravity tends to push more snow to the edge of roads. Our operators will try and minimize this, but may at times not be able to avoid it. In the spring, snows are wet and tend to imitate large snowballs that may roll in front of your driveway. As much as we’d like to, we cannot go back and clean every home’s driveway, because there is always more to be plowed and getting behind will affect everyone’s safety, so let me apologize in advance if this happens.


The Town has six plow routes to keep roads open. Operators are required to plow all streets in their designated routes (unless emergency operations are in place). Each route is about 4 -6 hours, so just because your street has not been done yet does not mean the plow truck has missed you. Please be patient. Our operators do not drive fast for the safety of property and the public. Plow routes are posted on our web site. Operators are given their routes. They make the decision on which areas they do first. Their decisions are based on efficiency.
Emergency operations will go into effect when blizzard conditions are happening. During this time, Town staff will only plow the priority roadways if it can be performed safely. Who makes the call for emergency operations? Our Public Works Director, Town Manager and Police Chief work together to make those decisions.


Emergency routes are the main east-west and north-south major arterials: Aggregate Blvd/CR7, Silver Birch/CR11, Colorado Blvd, Ridgeway/CR15, Tipple Blvd/CR16, Godding Hollow/CR18, Bella Rosa/CR20, Frederick way from 52 to Tipple, and 5th St. from Colorado Blvd to Frederick Way. Once safer conditions exist, Town plows will break off into their designated residential routes.


There are some great videos on the web that show what snow plow operators do during snow storms. If you find the time to view a few, this may help with the education of what we do.
On occasion, a plow may cause some damage to property. Please contact Public Works and we will address the repair as soon as weather permits. You can call us at 720-382-5800. Let’s all have a safe and happy winter season.

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