CDOT Patrols Ready for Upcoming Storm West of Denver

October 24, 2012 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Ice & Snow Coming, Take It Slow!

CLEAR CREEK, GILPIN, GRAND, JEFFERSON, PARK & SUMMIT COUNTIES – Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintenance personnel are scheduled to go on snow shift at noon today, as the first significant snowfall is expected to hit the Interstate 70 and U.S. 285 corridors tonight.

“We’re prepared for this one and ready to battle a lot more snow and ice over the next few months,” said CDOT Deputy Maintenance Superintendent Dave Miller, who oversees the western portion of the Interstate 70 corridor between Idaho Springs and Vail Pass (Paul Maintenance Area).  “All available resources will be up and operating, keeping the highways open and safe for travel this winter.”

The Paul Maintenance Area, which includes most of Summit and Clear Creek counties, and a small area of Grand County, has 52 maintenance workers and 45 trucks.  A minimum of 20 trucks are operating around the clock during snowstorms.  Eight trucks, including two tankers, are used to apply de-icers and other plow trucks carry sand/salt and ice slicer to provide traction.*

Paul-Area crews take care of 698 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region), which includes 50 miles of Interstate 70, three mountain passes (Loveland, Berthoud and the east side of Vail) and the Eisenhower Tunnel approaches.

During the winter of 2011/2012, Paul maintenance crews plowed 354,020 total miles.  Crews also sprayed 939,653 gallons of de-icer, spread 31,588 tons of sand/salt and ice slicer and spent 5,932 hours in other snow removal-type activities.

The Mary Maintenance Area oversees sections of Jefferson, Park, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties.  It has 50 maintenance workers and 38 trucks operating during snowstorms, eight which are used to apply de-icers.  Other plow trucks carry sand/salt and Ice Slicer to provide traction.

“We’re doing all we can to keep the traveling public safe so please remember to give our snowplows enough room to clear the road when you’re in the vicinity of our removal operations, which allows our drivers to do their job effectively and makes it easier for drivers to travel in snowy conditions,” said Al Martinez, deputy maintenance superintendent for the Mary Area.  “Preparation’s also crucial.  Drivers should know what conditions to expect before they head out and have their vehicle ready for travel during adverse weather, not only for their own safety, but for the safety of others on the road as well.”

Mary Maintenance Area crews oversee 874 lane-miles, which includes 20 miles of I-70 (between Mount Vernon Canyon and Idaho Springs), three passes (Kenosha, Hoosier and Red Hill), Evergreen Parkway and Bear Creek Canyon (State Highway 74), Highway 119 between U.S. 6 and Highway 72, State Highway 9 between Fairplay and Hoosier Pass and U.S. 285 between Morrison and Fairplay.

During the winter of 2010/2011, Mary maintenance crews plowed 253,133 total miles.  Crews also sprayed 1,233,866 gallons of deicer, spread 10,976 tons of sand/salt and ice slicer and spent 3,543 hours in other snow removal-type activities.

Paul and Mary area maintenance crews operate in two shifts during the winter season: 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  However, when inclement weather sets in, crews switch to 24-hour coverage (two12-hour shifts – 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. and 12 a.m. to 12 p.m.)

Current road and weather conditions are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via reports and traffic cameras on the web site or by calling 511.  Information also is available via text alerts and/or e-mails. Please and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.  The link takes you to a list of subscription items.


1.     Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for road conditions winter driving tips and other information

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 engine periodically 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 of an inch 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.

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. Of course, always buckle up!

*Snow Removal Products:

Magnesium Chloride in solutions up to 30 percent.  - Effective for use down to 160 Fahrenheit pavement surface temperature.

Cold Temperature Modified Magnesium Chloride in solutions up to 27 percent magnesium chloride - Used when surface temperatures fall below approximately 150 Fahrenheit. Products meeting this description have a corn procession byproduct additive that greatly lowers the freezing point of magnesium chloride.

Ice Slicer - A solid product, 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.