News

Cold and Snow Set to Take Hold - Ice & Snow, Take it Slow!

December 3, 2013 - Southeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 2 - PUEBLO – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is preparing to go on snow-shift throughout southeastern Colorado today as the latest blast of winter begins to settle in across the region.

Region Two – which includes all of southeastern Colorado and South Park – is budgeted at $9.6 million, and includes 236 maintenance employees and 203 pieces of snow removal equipment.  In addition, 52 plows apply liquid and solid de-icers* to maintain 7,670 highway lane miles (the combined length of each lane on every highway within the region).  Other plow trucks carry sand/salt for providing traction or, at optimum temperatures, sand pre-wetted with liquid de-icer for traction and effective ice-melting.

“Keeping our highways clear of snow and ice during every snow event is challenging, but we have very dedicated and well-trained employees who help keep our highways open and passable throughout the winter season,” said CDOT Maintenance Superintendent Adam Padilla.  “Highway safety is job one and while our crews do their best battling Mother Nature, we’re reminding drivers to slow down when driving on wet or snowy roads and near snow plows."

PLEASE NOTE:  Snow-shift times are approximate and may be adjusted due to changing conditions.

Pueblo Maintenance Area (snow-shift begins at 10 p.m.)

The Pueblo Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Pueblo (six patrols, 15 plows total), Rye/Colorado City (4 plows), Penrose (4 plows), Westcliffe (3 plows) Beulah (5 plows), Canon City (two patrols, 5 plows total) and Cotopaxi (2 plows). The Pueblo Maintenance Area has 54 maintenance workers and 51 pieces of snow removal (including 38 snowplows, 12 of which are equipped with MDSS**). 12 trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks carry sand/salt and for providing traction. Pueblo Area maintenance crews oversee 2119 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $2,304,578.

Colorado Springs Maintenance Area (snow-shift begins at 8 p.m.)

The Colorado Springs Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Colorado Springs (eight patrols, 27 plows total), Monument (two patrols, 6 plows total), Calhan (2 plows). The Colorado Springs Area has 58 maintenance workers and 41 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 35 snowplows, 10 of which are equipped with MDSS). Eleven trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks carry sand/salt and for providing traction. Colorado Springs Area maintenance crews oversee 1287 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $2,246,709.

La Junta Maintenance Area (snow-shift begins at 8 p.m.)

The La Junta Maintenance Area includes patrols in: La Junta (6 plows), Las Animas (3 plows), Fowler (2 plows), Sugar City (4 plows) and Kim (3 plows).  The La Junta Maintenance Area has 27 maintenance workers and 20 pieces of snow removal (including 18 snowplows). Five trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks carry sand/salt and for providing traction. La Junta Area maintenance crews oversee 1126 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $447,846.

Trinidad Maintenance Area (snow-shift begins at 4 p.m.)

The Trinidad Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Trinidad (three patrols, 9 plows total), Aguilar (3 plows), Walsenburg (two patrols, 6 plows total) and La Veta (4 plows). The Trinidad Area has 31 maintenance workers and 28 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 22 snowplows, 11 of which are equipped with MDSS). Twelve trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Trinidad Area maintenance crews oversee 1187 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $1,764,897.

Lamar Maintenance Area (snow-shift begins at midnight)

The Lamar Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Lamar (two patrols, 5 plows total), Eads (two patrols, 5 plows total), Springfield (8 plows), Granada (5 plows). The Lamar Area has 32 maintenance workers and 27 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 23 snowplows). Five trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Lamar Area maintenance crews oversee 1343 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $590,913.

Fairplay Maintenance Area (currently on snow-shift)

The Fairplay Maintenance Area includes patrols in Fairplay (three patrols, 9 plows total), Woodland Park (6 plows), Cripple Creek (3 plows), Hartsel (2 plows) and Bailey (5 plows). The Fairplay Area has 34 maintenance workers and 36 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 25 snowplows, 8 of which are equipped with MDSS). Seven trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Fairplay Area maintenance crews oversee 608 lane-miles. Total 2013/14 winter budget: $2,246,265.

WINTER TRAVEL TIPS:

  1. Plan your trip! Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at:http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving for tips, road conditions, information on CDOT’s 14-hour snow plow coverage and more; or call 511 for statewide road conditions. Also, sign up for FREE wireless text and/or e-mail updates on road conditions/closures—see the green phone icon in the upper right-hand corner of our web site home page. Motorists can also log onto the National Weather Service’s site at http://weather.gov/.
  2. Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.
  3. If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engineperiodically and wait for help.
  4. Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle's safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer.
  5. Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.
  6. Be sure of your route. Don't go exploring in the back-country without some local knowledge, especially during a storm or when one is bearing down anywhere near your location.
  7. Be sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least 1/8 inch of tread depth. All season radials on a front-wheel-drive passenger vehicle are adequate for most situations; install them on all four tires. Four snow tires on most rear-wheel drive vehicles are usually adequate. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles (please see information on Colorado’s chain law at http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/commercial-vehicles/colorado-chain-law.url).
  8. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents. Remember you can't see around mountain curves and corners, either.
  9. In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road, and never drink and drive.

10.   Always buckle up!

*Snow Removal Products:

Magnesium Chloride in solutions up to 30%. - Effective for use when pavement surface temperature is 16 degrees Fahrenheit or above

Cold Temperature Modified Magnesium Chloride in solutions up to 27% magnesium chloride - used when surface temperatures fall below approximately 15 degrees. Products meeting this description have a corn procession byproduct additive that greatly lowers the freezing point of magnesium chloride.

APEX – Magnesium Chloride-based product – used above -4 degrees pavement surface temperature.  Due to its lower freezing point, can substitute for regular and cold-temperature magnesium chloride.

Ice Slicer/Solar Salt/Rapid Thaw/Ice Ban 300 - A solid product that is mainly sodium chloride with small amounts of other materials that help this product to work at lower temperatures than pure sodium chloride. It is used to melt ice pack at curves and intersections and other spot locations that make it difficult to de-ice with liquids and for broadcast applications in PM 10 non-attainment areas. Ice Slicer tends to remain in place and persist longer between applications than liquids.

**Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS): Installed on many CDOT plow trucks throughout the state, combines advanced weather prediction, advanced road condition prediction and rules of practice for anti-icing and de-icing to generate road treatment recommendations on a route-by-route basis. The goal of MDSS is to provide more effective use of maintenance resources in order to increase safety, reliability and mobility on roadways. The MDSS system allows CDOT crews to input real-time conditions, including road and ambient temperature, type of snow removal products being used and the application rate. After comparing the information to 15 weather reports, the system will then provide suggested treatments based on the information and models. The system may tell the operator to re-treat the road at a later time, apply different products at different rates or even to continue current procedures. The suggested treatment can then be followed or the operator can override the system.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal