Plows hit residential streets in metro Denver

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 01:25:28-05

Several cities including Denver, Aurora and Lakewood have deployed a fleet of plows to clear snow packed residential roads.

Denver had 80 light-duty plows out on Tuesday morning and Public Works said crews were able to do one pass down the center of every neighborhood road.

It normally takes a foot of snow for Denver to clear side streets, but the city said it made an exception.

"We're seeing maybe eight to ten inches [of snow], maybe didn't reach the 12 mark but we also have a lot of wind which causes drifting," said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn.

Denver said a 12-hour shift of snow-plowers on residential streets costs the city about $50,000 in overtime and fuel, but this storm they were able to avoid a lot of those extra costs.

"We were able to do it in eight hours, a person's regular shift, so not a lot of overtime costs incurred," said Kuhn.

Kuhn also stressed that the city's light-duty residential plows are only capable of scraping off the top few inches of snow, and won't get down to the pavement.

An issue that can turn some roads into an icy mess a few days after the storm.

"If we don't come out, you get deep rutting, it gets icy, it gets thick, it's hard to navigate. So I think most people appreciate when we do this program," Kuhn said.

She said the goal is make the side streets more passable. Denver uses trained volunteers from Public Works and Parks and Recreation to operate the light-duty plows.

"I think it's a good, these residential side streets are really, really slick," said Denver resident Becky Rivers.

In Aurora, crews started plowing residential roads Tuesday evening.

Aurora plows "priority three" -- or residential -- streets after the main roads and those near schools and shopping areas are clear.

Lakewood made the call Tuesday afternoon to plow its residential roads. Crews were out starting at 3 p.m. and the city said they'll be out until the job is done.  

Lakewood said it costs a minimum of $75,000 for the city to clear side streets.