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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

On-call and ready to go: City crews and mid-season snow removal

On-call and ready to go: City crews and mid-season snow removal

Public Works and Utilities Department crews have responded to eight snow events since the first snow storm of the season on Oct. 25, 2020. As part of the city’s snow removal response, crews have plowed and de-iced 24,895 miles of road using 2,478 tons of de-icer while working a total of 3,428 hours.

“Although we’ve received less snow than normal to date, March and April are the snowiest months for Westminster,” said Street Operations Manager Kurt Muehlemeyer. “I am extremely proud of how our crews have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue delivering excellent services without skipping a beat. We will remain on-call and ready to go throughout the remainder of the season.”

Snow removal is a major undertaking. It takes a team of over 70 dedicated employees in the Department to help keep the city’s streets clear of snow and ice throughout the winter. These staff are on call 24 hours a day to provide the best driving conditions possible during and after snow storms.  

The average snow event costs the city $40,000 to $50,000 for staff time, fuel and de-icing material, not including the wear and tear put on the equipment.

All of the city’s 1,100 miles of road can’t be plowed at once. Roads are prioritized by how much traffic they receive, whether they present hazardous conditions like steep hills and whether they serve emergency facilities like fire stations. What streets get plowed also depend on how much snow falls with residential streets only getting plowed when the city receives eight inches of snow or more.

Also, the city doesn’t plow every road in city limits.

“The most frequent request we receive is to plow streets that are not maintained by the city,” said Muehlemeyer. “We have an agreement in place to assist including the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on some of their roads, but we don’t have the resources to do it often. We do not plow any roads or parking lots that are privately owned like shopping centers and housing complexes.”

There are seven other jurisdictions that help remove snow on public streets within the city including CDOT, Adams County and Jefferson County. CDOT is responsible for snow removal on state roads including Wadsworth Parkway, US 36, Federal Boulevard, 120th Avenue and I-25.

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