News

CDOT asking Motorists to Plan Ahead for Winter Storm

January 10, 2019 - Denver Metro Area - Snow and wind expected to impact travel on Front Range, Central Foothills and Denver area

With a winter snow storm predicted to arrive overnight, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is urging motorists to be prepared for winter driving conditions tomorrow, especially in the afternoon and evening.  

Forecasters are calling for snow and rain to begin in southern Colorado late tonight, and then moving northward. Friday morning commuters could encounter winter driving conditions along the Front Range, including Interstate 25 in the metro area and south to the Palmer Divide. Snow is expected to ramp up again in the afternoon, impacting the evening commute with slushy conditions, possibly making roads snow packed and icy.  CDOT is urging drivers to give themselves extra time to travel to and from their destinations Friday.

Snow accumulations are expected to be two to three inches for most of the Metro Denver with four to eight inches along C-470, the Palmer Divide and the central foothills above 9000 feet. Winds are expected upwards of 40 mph on the Eastern Plains and along the Palmer Divide, so motorists could encounter much lower visibility.

CDOT crews will be on snow shift and working to pre-treat roadways where appropriate. Drivers are encouraged to also be aware of snow plow operations, as maintenance crews will be actively working to maintain the roadways.    

“In order for our plows to remove snow efficiently and apply sand or deicing agents safely, a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour is required,” said  CDOT Director of Highway Maintenance Kyle Lester. “That speed may seem slow to some drivers following a snow plow, but attempting to pass a plow is very risky.  The ultimate advice to avoid causing a crash is simply to not crowd our plows.” When a plow is in a crash it can no longer maintain the roadways for everyone, he said.”

The storm is expected to leave the state early Saturday.  

  1. Never pass on the right — Never a good idea! Many plows use a blade extension (wing plow) on the right hand side of the truck. The blade extends the plowing area towards the shoulder of the road, leaving no room to pass. Also, plows are designed to push all the snow, slush, rocks and other debris to the right of the truck. The flying debris will damage your vehicle and obstruct your view of the road.  

  2. Never pass during tandem/echelon plowing — Tandem/echelon plowing staggers multiple plows to cover all lanes and clear the entire roadway in one coordinated sweep. This is the safest and most efficient snow removal method to clear the entire roadway. It is extremely dangerous for motorists to try and pass plows in this formation because you could encounter white out conditions, ridges of snow between lanes or get trapped between the snow plow trucks.

  3. Never tailgate — Plows need to drop deicer and sand, so make sure you stay back at least three to four car lengths of space. If you’re too close, your visibility is reduced and deicer and sand could hit your vehicle. You also never know when a plow might need to suddenly stop — make sure you have plenty of room to do the same.

STAY INFORMED: Road and weather conditions are available by dialing 511, 303-639-1111, or visiting www.cotrip.org. Also available on the COtrip site are:

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal