The Residential Snow Plow Program was created during the blizzards of 2006-07 to keep residential streets, or side streets, passable. This program is meant to shave off the very top few inches of snowpack to prevent the deep rutting that occurs when snow freezes, rendering the street undrivable. The residential plows do not bring the street to bare pavement, they only make the street more drivable and ultimately safer. We consider deploying this program to be an emergency measure only used under specific criteria because it employs such expensive and extensive resources. Because of these reasons, the residential plows do not deploy every time snow falls.
Criteria for calling out the residential plows:
- Between November 15 and March 15 only
- 12 inches or more of snow predicted
- Accompanied by prolonged freezing temperatures
- The Manager of Denver Public Works recommends this program to the Mayor when necessary.
Resources utilized and what they do:
- 90 pieces of City-owned equipment will be deployed each shift; “equipment” refers to the 4x4 pick up trucks with plows on them (residential plows) and other pieces of heavy equipment used to address side streets.
- Deploy to simultaneously clear side streets throughout the City.
- The trucks come from Public Works, Parks & Recreation and one private contractor. Adding the contractor allows us to add more resources to each sector of the City.
- Over 275 employees from Public Works and Parks & Recreation operate the residential plows after completing a four-hour training course; a special driver’s license is not required to operate a residential plow.
- The contractor provides additional plows and/or heavy equipment to address their sectors, supplementing our resources.
What to expect:
- The residential plows take one swipe down the middle of every side street to prevent deep ice rutting and to keep the streets passable.
- Because the residential plows are deployed when 12 inches or more of snow is on the ground, it is not realistic to expect these plows to expose bare pavement when they plow.
- The residential areas will not receive any anti icing or de icing material.
- The deployment typically takes three days.
History of deployment of the residential plows:
The last official deployment of the residential plows was in February 2012, and once before that in 2007. The concept of deploying light plows into the neighborhoods was brought into action during the blizzards of 2006-07.