With a snow removal team of just 13 employees and several reserve drivers, the Town of Estes Park efficiently clears approximately 59 miles of streets, 12.5 miles of sidewalks, 12 miles of trails and 15 parking lots across town. The team is comprised of employees from Public Works and several other Town departments.
State-managed highways U.S. 34, U.S. 36 and CO Highway 7 are plowed by the Colorado Department of Transportation, including Elkhorn and Moraine Avenues. All other streets within Town limits are plowed by the Town’s team, which is called to action when there is sufficient snowfall or icy conditions. Plowing along emergency routes typically begins between 4 and 7 a.m. Drivers make a first pass along each route, which takes approximately five hours, and then make additional passes as needed. If snowfall ends, plows generally stop running by 3:30 p.m.
Emergency routes are the first priorities for the Town’s plow drivers. These include access streets to hospitals and schools, downtown streets including MacGregor Avenue, Big Horn Drive, Riverside Drive, and West Elkhorn, as well as Peak View Drive, Scott Avenue, Stanley Avenue and any other streets that must remain accessible for a police or fire emergency. When plows begin clearing snow, any vehicles parked along designated snow routes will be towed at the owner’s expense; signs are posted along these routes.
While many communities do not plow residential streets or prioritize them last, the Town of Estes Park plows approximately 225 residential streets within Town limits after emergency routes are clear. 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.
The Town encourages motorists to follow safe driving tips around snow removal equipment:
- Remember that the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. Plows will typically travel under 35 miles per hour and there is always a temptation to pass them. For your safety, it is recommended that you stay a safe distance behind the snowplows.
- During plowing operations, visibility can be reduced by blowing snow and plow operators may need time to stop or move over to avoid stranded vehicles. Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the plow is very important in order to avoid accidents.
- Allow plenty of room when passing a snowplow. Do not cut back into the lane ahead of the plow too quickly since the blade extends several feet ahead of the truck. Some snowplows are equipped with a "wing plow," a 10-12 foot extension off the side of the truck. Be aware that the hazard exists.
- When you see an approaching snow plow on an undivided roadway, move as far away from the center line as you safely can since blowing snow may obscure the actual width of the snowplow's blade.
- Turn on your lights- to see and be seen. Brush the snow off your headlights and taillights frequently.
- Winter driving requires motorists to be careful and alert, but the most important tip for winter driving is: SLOW DOWN!
Plow drivers appreciate the cooperation of motorists as plows are less maneuverable than other vehicles.
For more information please contact Public Works at 970-577-3587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.