Castle Rock, CO

Castle Rock's snow plowing can miss some areas

Mike McKibbin

By Mike McKibbin / NewsBreak Denver / Jan. 18, 2023

[CASTLE ROCK, COLO.] — As a potentially heavy winter storm began Tuesday night, the Castle Rock Town Council discussed the town's snow and ice removal procedures that one council member said had left her street ice-clogged since late December.

Most of the state experienced heavy snowfall at the end of last year. Many residents were upset when their streets weren't plowed and kept open. Councilmember Laura Cavey measured 11 inches of snow in the last big storm.

"My neighborhood never was plowed," she said. "Now it's all rutted ice with huge chunks in the middle of the road. And we're getting more snow on top of that."

Cavey said her street is a cul-de-sac, "so it's off the beaten path."

She noted she wasn't the only one affected.

"I had more complaints about that snowstorm than at any time in my two years on council," Cavey said.

'Straggler' streets can be missed

Public Works Director Dan Sailer explained the town's snow plowing and ice management policy to the council. He said it is common for different areas in Castle Rock to get much more snow than other areas. Plow drivers stop and measure the snowfall in different areas to help determine where plows might be needed.

"There can be situations where we might miss some straggler streets," Sailer added. "The best thing is to call us."

Cavey said her neighborhood in a hilly area of Founders Village often gets more snow than others in town.

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Bracken said he saw a snowplow come down his street after the last storm.

"But it didn't seem to help because it was likely the next day, and it had already hardened" into ice, he added. "And it's still there because it gets no sun."

Sailer said the late December storm was unique because it rained first.

"So we couldn't put down the mag chloride to help prevent the icing," he noted. "We're still dealing with ice removal from that storm."

Sailer said the town has a full complement of qualified plow drivers, but that number ebbs and flows. He also said other departments with qualified drivers help his crews when needed.

Policy sets priorities for plowing

Like many municipalities, the town's snow removal policy divides city streets into primary and secondary priorities based on traffic volume. That means residential streets are plowed after high-volume streets like the Plum Creek and Meadows parkways, Sailer explained.

Primary streets are plowed when at least 4 inches of snow is forecast, while secondary roads are based on the time of year. Between Nov. 15 and March 15, they are plowed when 4 inches are expected, not until 8 inches are forecast for the rest of the year.

"Over the past year, it took less than 6 hours to clear all our streets after the snow stopped," Sailer stated.

The policy calls for adjacent private property owners to shovel their sidewalks and gutters to help speed the melting process. Elderly residents can seek help shoveling their property after a storm through area churches and the Aging Resources of Douglas County.

If residents have issues due to snowstorms, Sailer said they should contact his department. The town's website has snow removal information and contacts.

"Phone calls, emails, texts, we'll take anything," Sailer added. "We do get lots of calls, and we have to prioritize where to send the plows, so we ask people to be patient. Eventually, we will get there."

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