Q) Why did the plow push snow on my shoveled sidewalk?

  • Pushing snow onto sidewalks and driveways is an unfortunate consequence of plowing any street. We have always been very forthcoming about this potential issue with the community, and the feedback we receive is that the priority is to keep our streets passable and continue to plow the streets.
  • While the re-depositing of snow onto sidewalks by the plows doesn't happen very often, we are truly sorry when it does.
  • We are constantly providing our drivers with feedback on their performance and ways to minimize the occurrence of snow on sidewalks.
  • We also encourage folks who are healthy to assist neighbors who may need help shoveling.

 Q) How many large snow plows does Denver have in its fleet?

  • 70 plows
  • Seven motor graders
  • Four loaders
  • The motor graders and loaders are deployed to areas where snow tends to drift on the road, creating tall drifts that plows can’t remove; they address streets where ice is packed and needs to be broken up; they can be used to clear on-street parking after the roads are addressed.
  • Motor graders do the heavy work and the loaders remove the snow or ice from the road.
  • Four loaders at camps to load materials into the plows.
  • “Fully deployed” means anywhere from 64-70 plows, seven motor graders and four loaders on the street, for a total of 81 pieces of heavy equipment (using the 70 plow number).  

 Q) How many people does it take to run a snow shift?

To staff 70 plows for a 12 hour shift, we need:

  • 70 plow operators
  • 4 loader operators
  • 6 supervisors
  • 1 manager
  • 2 people at the operations center

Total of 83 people working 12 hour shifts, 166 people for a 24 hour shift.

 Q) Why do I sometimes see a plow with its blade up?

  • Public Works strategically deploys resources to best meet the priorities of each snowfall. In order to make this deployment fully effective and successful, plows absolutely must stick to their assignment and not take time to plow in- between locations.
  • Because they must travel in between route locations or back to their snow station, drivers must have their plow blades off the ground to stay on schedule. Trucks must travel at much slower speeds when plowing, so when a truck is plowing where it isn’t scheduled to work, it cannot meet the strategic goal to which it was assigned.
  • In cases where accumulations on the street are just beginning, or where streets have already been plowed, snowplows may drive with their plow up while applying deicing material.
  • Like any organized plan, snow plowing only works when everyone stays on track and on schedule.

Q) Why are there more potholes after the snow season?

  • During the winter, potholes are created when moisture seeps into cracks in the surface of a road and freezes, causing it to expand. When the ice thaws that space is left empty, resulting in a hole in the pavement or a “pothole.”
  • We encourage residents to call 3-1-1 to report any potholes.

Q) What should I do with my trash and recycling during snowy conditions?

  • DO shovel a path to your recycling cart and trash barrel
  • DO keep these containers off patches of ice for safety
  • DO make sure recycling carts and trash barrels are clear of snow
  • DO put your cart and trash barrel as far in the street as possible - not behind snow banks
  • DO leave a 4’ space on either side of your barrel and recycling cart allowing easy access by our trucks automated arms.
  • DON’T use cardboard boxes as a trash container. This is always a “Don’t” no matter what the weather conditions.
  • DON’T pile snow beside dumpsters. 

Q) How can I help?

  • When you see a plow on the street, give the plow driver plenty of room to work.
  • When shoveling your vehicle out of an on-street parking spot, shovel the snow into your yard rather than into the street. When the street is plowed, it is likely that the snow in the street will be pushed onto your vehicle.
  • If you are unable to shovel the snow into your yard, attempt to shovel it as close to the curb as possible.
  • Shovel snow into small piles instead of large piles. This allows the sun to melt the piles quicker and prevents them from turning into dangerous ice banks.
  • Help others shovel
  • Volunteer to be a Snow Buddy