CDOT Encourages Northeast Colorado Motorists to Prepare Vehicles for Winter Driving

November 10, 2015 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - Check Highway & Weather Conditions Before Travel.

ROAD CONDITION/CLOSURE INFORMATION: To find roadway conditions and closures, log onto CDOT’s traveler information site at or call 511 from anywhere in the state. Better yet, sign up to receive wireless text alerts and/or e-mails about road conditions on our website,

NORTHEAST COLORADO – As winter fast approaches, the Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews in northeast Colorado are ready for winter snow shift.

With this latest storm planned for Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, 100 vehicles will be working to keep the roads in northeast Colorado clear. Crews are keeping tabs on the weather forecasts and are planning patrols to begin around 4 p.m. in Boulder and Loveland. As the storm moves to the east, patrols in Sterling, Limon and Brush will begin anywhere from 10 p.m. to midnight

When a storm event is predicted, maintenance crews begin a 24-hour operation—rotating 12-hour shifts—until they reach dry road conditions. 

Motorists should be aware the Traction Law (Code 15) and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) could be implemented if conditions require it.  When either law is in effect, highway signage will be activated.

  • Traction Law — Motorists will need snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
  • Passenger Vehicle Chain Law — Every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).

Without proper equipment, you can be fined $130. If your vehicle blocks the roadway, you could be fined more than $650.


CDOT Region 4 goes east from Boulder and north of Punkin Center, excluding the Denver Metro area. Region 4 maintenance has about 220 maintenance workers and 270 vehicles. We have liquid storage capabilities of 1,575,500 gallons of liquid de-icer.  This year we have three trucks equipped with tow plows.  There are 87 Midrange/plows, 51 Loaders, 104 Tandems/plows, 17 motorgraders, 11 sweepers, and 3 tow plows.

A few veteran employees and all new employees will attend a mandatory 8-hour snow plow training course to learn the proper snow removal techniques.

Our primary roads are I-25, I-70, I-76, US 36, US 85, US 287 and US 34.  Our secondary roads are State Hwys 1, 6, 7, 11, 14, 23, 24, 39, 40, 42, 52, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 63, 66, 71, 72, 79, 86, 93, 94, 113, 119, 138, 144, 170, 257, 263, 385, 392, and 402.

Northeast Colorado maintenance crews have 9,324 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region) to maintain.  Last winter, they plowed 984,530 total plow miles, applied 107,313 gallons of liquid de-icer, and applied 32,220 tons of solid de-icers (sand/salt). Total 2015/2016 Snow removal budget of $10,400,251.

*Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS), installed on many CDOT plow trucks throughout the state, combines advanced weather and road condition prediction and rules of practice for anti-icing and de-icing to generate road treatment recommendations on a route-by-route basis. The goal of MDSS is to provide more effective use of maintenance resources in order to increase safety, reliability and mobility on roadways. The MDSS system allows CDOT crews to input real-time conditions, including road and ambient temperature, type of snow removal products being used and the application rate. After comparing the information to 15 weather reports, the system will then provide suggested treatments based on the information and models. The system may tell the operator to re-treat the road at a later time, apply different products at different rates or even to continue current procedures. The suggested treatment can then be followed or the operator can override the system.


  • Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for road conditions winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go here:
  • Be sure you have good snow tires. How do you know if you need new snow tires? Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK (do this test in multiple points around each tire.) If the top of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.
  • 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.
  • If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.
  • 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 deicer.
  • 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.
  • Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.
  • Drive for the conditions. 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.
  • In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, and leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road (including plow trucks). Of course, always buckle up!


Magnesium Chloride:  In solutions that utilize up to 30 percent magnesium chloride, this product is effective for pavement surface temperatures down to 16 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold Temperature Modified Magnesium Chloride:  In solutions that utilize up to 27 percent magnesium chloride, this product is used when surface temperatures fall below approximately 15 degrees Fahrenheit. These products have a corn-processed byproduct additive that greatly lowers the freezing point of magnesium chloride.

Ice Slicer:  This is a solid product made up of mainly sodium chloride; it also contains small amounts of other materials making it more effective at lower temperatures than pure sodium chloride.


CDOT continuously hires maintenance personnel year-round to join the dedicated women and men who tirelessly work to maintain Colorado roadways. CDOT maintenance workers enjoy paid vacation and sick leave, medical and dental plans, life insurance, choice of retirement plans, training, work-life programs and tuition reimbursement. Commercial driver’s license and heavy equipment operation experience is required. Find out more online at