CDOT is ready for winter. Are you?

Winter Preparation

Oct. 17, 2023 - As Coloradans and visitors enjoy the temperate, early fall weather, the Colorado Department of Transportation has its eye on the upcoming winter season. In fact, CDOT has been preparing for the first snowflake to hit the ground this fall since the last flake fell this past spring.
CDOT snowplows lined up and ready for winter operations

According to National Weather Service data, the mean average of when Colorado will see its first snow this season is Oct. 19. The Farmer’s Almanac is also predicting a winter season that will bring heavy snow and below average temperatures.

CDOT’s strategies last season helped reduce the number of road closures by 9% compared to the previous year, a feat many would not have thought possible given the Department’s decreased workforce and winter’s intensity.

So, what has CDOT been doing while the snowplows were at rest?


CDOT implemented a robust recruitment strategy in order to recruit and retain highway maintainers. Through these extensive efforts, CDOT was able to drop its maintenance and operations vacancy rate from 37% (Aug. 2022) to 18% (May 2023).

To learn more about careers and incentives, visit our careers page.


CDOT has established a Maintenance Training Academy which offers more than a dozen training courses that help to advance its highway maintainers’ careers and better serve the public — including avalanche training and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program.

Updated Equipment and innovations

It’s hard to do a good job without good tools. New equipment and innovative strategies implemented over the summer include:

  • Adding wing lights to plow blades to prevent right-side passing impacts.
  • Synched emergency vehicle lighting is being phased into the CDOT fleet. Synch-equipped emergency vehicles will automatically flash in tandem to deliver clearer visual cues to motorists.
  • Reflective emergency graphics. All CDOT vehicles will feature updated diagonal graphics with retroreflective material to improve visibility and prevent crashes.
  • Replacing old equipment with new, modernized equipment to improve safety and efficiency. New tow-plows can carry up to twice as much snow per load.
  • New avalanche equipment. In July 2023, CDOT began the installation of O’bellx and Gazex fixed avalanche control systems, which make slide path areas safer for CDOT crews and the traveling public.

Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels Operations Center upgrade

CDOT is working to modernize its technology at its Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels Operations Center that is over 40 years old. The new technology will improve traffic flows and responses to any incidents within the tunnels.

Avalanche team

CDOT safely triggered 488 avalanches in highway paths during the 2022/2023 winter season — of which 203 hit the road. The CDOT Avalanche Safety Program prepares for every winter as if it is going to be a heavy snow season.

Gearing up deicers/anti-icers

CDOT maintainers spent July stockpiling maintenance sheds and filling tanks with de-icers. Crews also made salt brine in house. Brine is a liquid solution used to pre-treat roadways before winter weather and prevent ice from bonding to the road surface.

CDOT has 750,000 gallons of storage capacity spread out over 200 maintenance patrol facilities that will hold all necessary products to keep Colorado highways and interstates clear.

So, are you ready?

Motorists need to ensure they are properly prepared for snow and ice conditions. More often than not, crashes during snow events are caused by motorists who were not prepared for adverse winter conditions. Motorists are encouraged to stay “Winter Wise” and consider following the winter preparedness list detailed via this link.

CDOT’s Division of Maintenance and Operations does more than you think. To learn more about DMO visit

“What we do is tough work. It’s gritty and not for the faint of heart. Our men and women come to work every day ready to serve the people of Colorado. I’m truly humbled by our incredible team of highway maintainers.”

- CDOT’s Division of Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme