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CDOT encourages motorists in Northeast Colorado to prepare vehicles now for winter driving

November 16, 2016 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - Check highway & weather conditions before heading out and abide by Traction and Passenger Vehicle Chain laws, if implemented

ROAD CONDITION/CLOSURE INFORMATION: To find the conditions and closures (including camera shots), log onto CDOT’s traveler information site at www.cotrip.org or call 511 from anywhere in the state. Better yet, sign up to receive CDOT Alerts to your email or mobile device (go to www.codot.gov and click the white envelope at the bottom of the page). Watch for periodic winter driving photos on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @ColoradoDOT.

NORTHEAST COLORADO –Winter weather is moving into Northeast Colorado and CDOT wants to remind motorists to be prepared for the driving conditions.

During a winter storm, CDOT maintenance crews are on standby for round-the-clock patrol shifts. Maintenance area crews (see Area and Patrol details, below) are out on 24-hour operation—typically on rotating 12-hour shifts—until they reach dry road conditions. This means that during a storm, at least half the crew members on each patrol are out at any given time, some overlapping their shifts to keep coverage consistent. And, when warranted, avalanche control crews are working together with CAIC forecasters to trigger avalanches before they can run naturally.

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.

The following information provides details on Northeastern Colorado’s Maintenance Area and Patrol locations, personnel and equipment.

Additional tips for getting prepared for winter weather travel are noted below.

CDOT Region 4, Northeast Colorado …

Northeast Colorado has 272 maintenance workers and 184 snow plows.  Other plow trucks will carry sand/slicer for providing traction or, at optimum temperatures, sand pre-wetted with liquid deicer for traction and effective ice-melting. Northeast Colorado maintenance crews take care of 4,038 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the section). Total Budget $9,026,944

Here is a breakdown of the equipment in each of the maintenance areas throughout northeastern Colorado:

Greeley Maintenance Area

The Greeley Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Fort Lupton (3 plows), Gilcrest (4 plows), Greeley West (4 plows), Greeley East (5 plows), Pierce (5 plows), Hudson (5 plows) and Wiggins (4 plows). The Greeley Area has 46 maintenance workers and 39 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 31 snowplows and 1 tow plow).

Boulder Maintenance Area

The Boulder Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Estes Park (5 plows), Lyons (2 plows), Frederick (4 plows), Boulder (4 plows), Nederland (3 plows), Superior (7 plows) and Mead (4 plows). The Boulder Maintenance Area has 42 maintenance workers and 40 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 29 snowplows which carry sand/slicer for providing traction and 2 tow plow).  

Brush Maintenance Area

The Brush Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Fort Morgan (5 plows), two in Brush (5 plows), Akron (4 plows), Yuma (4 plows), Wray (3 plows), Anton (3 plows) and Joes (3 plows). The Brush Area has 41 maintenance workers and 37 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 27 snowplows and 1 tow plow).

Burlington/Limon Maintenance Area

The Burlington Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Arriba (5 plows), Punkin Center (3 plows), Burlington (5 plows), Seibert (6 plows), Hugo (3 plows), Kit Carson (3 plows) Matheson (2 plows), Cheyenne Wells (2 plows), Limon (7 plows), Kiowa (4 plows) and Deer Trail (5 plows). The Burlington Area has 50 maintenance workers and 63 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 45 snowplows and 1 tow plow).

Loveland Maintenance Area

The Loveland Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Livermore (3 plows), Fort Collins (2 plows), Poudre Canyon (4 plows), Fort Collins (5 plows), Loveland (6 plows) and Wellington (5 plows). The Loveland Area has 41 maintenance workers and 37 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 25 snowplows and 1 tow plow).

Sterling Maintenance Area

The Sterling Maintenance Area includes patrols in: New Raymer (4 plows), Sterling West (3 plows), Sterling East (6 plows), Crook (3 plows), Julesburg (5 plows) Haxtun (3 plows) and Holyoke (3 plows). The Sterling Area has 41 maintenance workers and 39 pieces of snow removal equipment (including 27 and 1 tow plow).

*Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS),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.

WINTER TRAVEL TIPS:

The Colorado Department of Transportation has broad authority to close any portion of a state highway to traffic due to a natural disaster, weather conditions, or any other emergency circumstances resulting in making road conditions unsafe for travel by motor vehicles.  That authority includes closing a road to traffic if adequate tire chains or snow tires are determined to be necessary.

AVOID A FINE!  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.

·         Know before you go! Visit CDOT’s traveler information site at www.cotrip.org; sign up for “CDOT Alerts” in your chosen area by going to www.codot.gov and choosing the white envelope at the bottom of the page; log onto CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at:  https://www.codot.gov/travel/winter-driving for road conditions winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go here: http://goi70.com/.

·         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.

·         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.

·         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!

SNOW REMOVAL PRODUCTS:

·         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 Hiring Permanent and Seasonal Snowplow Drivers and Road Maintenance Workers

We're getting ready for winter and are looking to hire both permanent and seasonal full-time and part-time snowplow drivers and road maintenance workers to plow and maintain roads. Positions are available in regions across the state, including the Denver Metro area, the I-70 mountain corridor and other mountain areas, the Front Range, the Western Slope and the Eastern Plains. Target cities include Crook, Idaho Springs, Joes, La Veta, Leadville, New Raymer, Silverton, Telluride, Vail Pass, Walden, Wolf Creek Pass, Yampa and many others. Interested candidates can view open positions and apply online at http://bit.ly/CDOTcareers.

The public can view snow plow locations on the any device by clicking http://cotrip.org/snowplow.htm#/snowplow  (also see upper right hand corner ofcotrip.org menu).  Using this information, motorists will be able to see plows’ current locations, their travel speed and direction they are traveling. Plows that have not moved for more than 16 minutes will not be visible.

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