The Town of Estes Park fleet is well prepared for snow and icy conditions. While many communities do not plow residential streets, the Town of Estes Park plows all of its approximately 225 residential streets within Town limits after emergency routes are clear. That means plowing approximately 59 miles of streets, 12.5 miles of sidewalks, 16.4 miles of trails, and 15 parking lots.
When sufficient snowfall or icy conditions exist, a snow removal team comprised of Town employees from Public Works and other Town departments is called into action. There are 12 plow drivers assigned to eight roadway routes, three trail routes, and one parking lot assignment, with back-up drivers trained to fill in when needed.
Our fleet includes three skid steers with plows, a large front-end loader, and a pickup truck and plow. Eight additional plow trucks are equipped with sand spreaders that place a diluted mixture of sand (93 percent) and Ice Slicer (7 percent) on hills and intersections where needed for traction. While this mixture does not achieve an aggressive "bare pavement" result, it is more cost-effective and kinder to the environment than placing 100 percent Ice Slicer on local streets. Follow-up sweeping of the surplus sand is performed as needed.
Prioritizing During or After a Snow Event
Emergency routes to hospitals and schools are the team's first priority. These include MacGregor Avenue, Big Horn Drive, Riverside Drive, Peak View Drive, Scott Avenue, and any other streets that must remain accessible for police or fire emergencies. Snow plowing typically begins between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., and it usually takes about five hours for the drivers to make a complete pass along each route. Plows generally stop running by 3:30 p.m., to ensure that drivers can go home and rest before coming back to repeat the cycle when warranted by dangerously slick conditions.
State-managed highways US 34, US 36, and SH 7 are plowed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). This includes Elkhorn and Moraine Avenues. US 66 and county roads are plowed by the Larimer County Road and Bridge crew.
How You Can Help Us Help You
Residents and business owners also have responsibilities during snowy and icy conditions. Things to remember:
- While a few of our streets are marked with snow route signs, nearly all of our streets are too narrow to accommodate parking and two lanes for traffic. When plows begin clearing snow, vehicles parked along our narrow streets outside the marked parking spaces may be towed at the owner's expense.
- Plows must push snow to the roadway edge, which may cause a ridge of snow to be deposited at private driveways or on sidewalks. The Town understands that this can be frustrating, and appreciates customers' patience. The Town's snow removal team cannot remain productive when stopping to clear every private driveway and sidewalk, so this task must remain the responsibility of customers. Residents who are unable to clear their own driveways are encouraged to contact local private contractors who provide this service.
- Property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses by noon on snowy days. By law, snow removed from any sidewalk or driveway may not be deposited into the roadway; doing so can create dangerous conditions for drivers and negates the clearing work done by our plow drivers.
- Keep in mind that snowplows are less maneuverable than other vehicles, and visibility is often limited for the plow driver. Motorists are reminded to be alert and give the plows plenty of room to maneuver and safely apply the salt/sand to our streets.
- Drive safely and use vehicle headlights during winter weather conditions.
Accessibility to Mail Receptacles
According to Chapter 6 of the Postal Operations Manual:
- Section 623.21: "The customer is responsible for keeping the approach to the mailbox clear to facilitate delivery (see 632.14). If the carrier continually experiences a problem in serving curbline boxes and where the customer is able to control access or on-street parking in front of his or her mailbox but does not take prompt corrective action after being properly notified, the postmaster may, with the approval of the district manager, withdraw delivery service."
- Section 632.14: "The customer is responsible for keeping the approach to his or her mailbox clear to facilitate delivery. Where the approach to the mail receptacle located at the curb is temporarily blocked by a parked vehicle during normal delivery hours for the area, or snow or ice hampers the approach to the mailbox, the carrier normally dismounts to make delivery. If the carrier continually experiences a problem in serving curbline boxes and where the customer is able to control on-street parking in front of his or her mailbox but does not take prompt corrective action after being properly notified, the postmaster may, with the approval of the district manager, withdraw delivery service."