Warm temps making side roads harder to travel

Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-19 13:48:13-05

The weather that caused a traffic mess earlier in the week is also to blame for why it hasn't been cleaned up yet.

Warm temperatures helped melt snow off of residential roads, but made some areas more dangerous right after the storm.

Temperatures in the 50s resulted in slushy and bumpy side streets. Chunks of snow started to refreeze as the sun went down, making those side streets hard to navigate.

Denver Public Works made one pass down residential streets on Tuesday night, even though it had not snowed 12 inches, like the city's policy requires.

Aurora Public Works clears some residential roads on the "Priority Three" list, after main roads are plowed, followed by school routes and roads around shopping areas.

The city of Centennial is supposed to plow residential roads if it snows nine inches, followed by one week of cold temperatures. Centennial did not plow residential roads after this storm.

"The reality is that the Colorado sun is going to be much more efficient than we are with our plows," said Centennial Public Works Director Travis Greiman. "Residential snow plowing does cost money, and so when we authorize that, we want to make sure it's a good use of money."

Denver Public Works told Denver7 that it costs about $50,000 to activate a residential snow plow response for weekday overtime and fuel.

As the side roads melt and refreeze, some areas are seeing divots or snow bumps, creating dangers for drivers.

"We see a lot of side impacts, damage to the suspension and a lot of undercarriage damage; like your oil pan, your engine cradle, everything that carries the motor," said Dave Stevenson, salesman at Maaco Collision Repair off of Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street. "Our average right now is anywhere from $1,800 to $2,200 for a light impact."

Stevenson has already seen multiple cars brought in with damage Colorado drivers experienced from going from a plowed road to an unplowed road, or vice versa.

"Sometimes you really can't help it. If you're plowing a main street down and there's a residential street off of it, we're only hitting that main street and so we're going to get a little build up there," said Greiman. "We're going to rely on the sun to take care of it."

For those who want to put a plow on their pickup truck or shovel the loose snow in the street, you're encouraged not to try.

"It's a bad idea. Number one, it's not legal. Number two, you put yourself at risk," said Greiman. "There's a lot of liability there, so if you were to pop the lid off of a manhole, if you were to damage a sidewalk, if you were to hit somebody in their car, you're responsible for all of that."


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