Crews Prepare for Winter Weather Moving Into Front Range

March 11, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Front Range- The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has gone on full snow shift throughout much of the Front Range as adverse weather moves into the area.

The Denver Metro Area has over 100 snow plows on the roads patrolling and the entire Front Range will have roughly 300 plows out in full force patrolling and dispersing anti-icing and de-icing products once moisture hits the roads. Maintenance crews will also be patrolling the highways washed out by the September floods to ensure that roadways remain in stable condition throughout this storm. With heavy, wet snow moving in this time of year, and fluctuating temperatures, motorists should be prepared for icy roads and adverse conditions during their travels.

Crews will be applying a combination of liquid and solid de-icing and anti-icing products. The recent warm temperatures and fast dropping current temperatures accompanied by thick, wet snow is likely to create icy conditions on many roadways for the evening commute and through the night. Adverse weather is expected to move in to the Front Range early afternoon and continue throughout the night. This storm is not anticipated to bring heavy accumulation to the Front Range but higher elevations should anticipate several inches of new snow as well as icy, snow packed roadways throughout today and tomorrow. This storm is likely to bring high winds, which can decrease visibility. Motorists are encouraged to drive according to conditions and to expect black ice conditions on roadways. Evening commuters tonight and morning commuters tomorrow are encouraged to allow for extra time and to drive with caution.

Snow plow safety is an important part of winter driving. Motorists traveling behind snow plows should remain a minimum of five car lengths behind the plow. Snow plows have limited visibility and often cannot see vehicles traveling too closely behind them. When plows are removing snow and ice from the roadways, whiteout conditions can occur for vehicles traveling too close to the plow. Allow plows to work at a safe distance from vehicles and use extreme caution when passing snow plows. Snow plow operators are maintaining the roads for the safety of the traveling public and their main objective is to remove snow and ice from the roadways to ensure vehicles can arrive safely at their destinations.

During non-peak travel times, snow plows use a method of plowing known as echelon plowing. Once snow begins accumulating, crews will use this method along major roadways. Echelon plowing is when snow plows line up at an angle along the roadway and plow in a line. This method of plowing allows crews to remove maximum amounts of snow and ice from the roadway in an even fashion and in a shorter period of time. CDOT does not recommend passing the plows when this is occurring.

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