CDOT crews on or set to begin snow-shift

December 24, 2012 - Statewide Transportation Plan - The Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews are on or are preparing to go on snow-shift today or tonight as the storm begins making its way from west-central to east-central Colorado.

Snow shift denotes alternating crews on a 12-hour on/12-hour off shift.  Beginning tonight and continuing through about mid-day Christmas, drivers should be prepared for winter driving conditions along the state’s highways, including the major corridors, such as Interstates 25 and 70, U.S. 285, and U.S. 40/287.   The storm is expected to leave the state mid-day tomorrow.  However, CDOT crews will remain on snow-shift until all highways have been safely cleared following the storm but it is expected to continue until at least mid-day Christmas.

Drivers should be prepared for possible slick conditions, especially on bridges, overpasses and interchange ramps.  In addition, windy conditions are expected so blowing and drifting snow is possible, reducing visibility, especially on the Eastern Plains.

CDOT crews are on snow-shift in most of Summit and Clear Creek counties, and a small area of Grand County, where a minimum of 20 trucks are operating.  Two to five inches of snow are forecast.

Beginning at noon today, snow-shift begins for CDOT crews covering sections of Jefferson, Park, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties.  Thirty eight trucks will be operating throughout this area, where three to five inches of snow is forecast to fall.

A minimum of 23 plow trucks will be clearing and de-icing the highways in most all of Elbert and Douglas counties and significant portions of Adams and Arapahoe counties.  Snow-shift begins at 5 p.m.  Four to six inches of snow is forecast throughout this area.

Approximately 39 plow trucks will begin snow-shift at midnight and working the roadways through Cheyenne, Lincoln and Kit Carson counties, and a small portion of Elbert County.  Two to three inches of snow is forecast.

Current information on road and weather conditions by viewing the Web site or by calling 511.  Up-to-date information also is available by subscribing for e-mail or text messages. Sign up by visiting, clicking the cell-phone icon in the upper right corner and checking geographic areas of interest.  It is free of charge but standard text message rates do apply.  Updates also are available via Twitter @coloradodot and on CDOT’s Facebook page at

Other winter travel tips include:

  • Logging onto CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for additional information.
  • Not passing plow trucks on the right.  Also, a plow blade may be extended, making it unsafe.  Drive slowly and let the plow clear the road for you.
  • Always keeping 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.
  • If you are stuck in a serious storm, do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help. Make sure the tailpipe is clear of snow and ice.
  • Carrying 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.
  • Remembering 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.
  • Being 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.
  • Being sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least 1/8 of an inch tread depth. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.
  • When visibility is poor or there are whiteout conditions, not driving faster than conditions allow.  High speeds can lead to chain reaction accidents. Also remember you can't see around mountain curves and corners either.
  • Conducting a pre-trip vehicle inspection, leaving extra space between your automobile and others on the road, and never drinking and driving. And, of course, always buckling up!