CDOT snow plow malfunctions, damages Craig storefront windows
December 1, 2016
Craig — Winter weather comes with the usual mishaps, but several Craig business owners returned from Thanksgiving to an unwelcome surprise: chipped and broken storefront windows due to rogue gravel from a Colorado Department of Transportation snow plow.
The gravel left dime-sized chips and pockmarks in several windows along Victory Way and Yampa Avenue, destroying the front door of Coldwell Bankers at 105 E. Victory Way.
"It shattered the door," said building owner and Broker/Associate Roy McAnally. "It did have safety glass in it and surprisingly it did not fall out… I was able to tape it up until I could get it replaced Monday."
The CDOT snow plow was operating early Thanksgiving morning when it sent gravel flying onto the sidewalks and into the windows.
"What I understand happened from maintenance is the sander on our plow malfunctioned," said CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove. "The speed was at a higher velocity than it should be. The operator didn't realize until later that he had basically thrown sand all over sidewalks."
The damage prompted at least four calls to Craig Police Department Friday morning, which tallied the total number of businesses and individuals affected at eight.
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Pam Young, owner of Sundrop Custom Framing on Yampa Avenue, was among those who called after arriving to her shop.
"I unlocked the door and gravel was everywhere on the sidewalk and I thought, 'What's up with that?'" Young said. "Then I turned the sign and discovered a huge pit in the window."
Several doors down, the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Craig Physical Therapy building had at least six such pits.
"In 16 years, I've never had that happen," said Rich Sadvar, owner of Craig Physical Therapy.
The Community Budget Center was also affected. A local CDOT supervisor already met with at least one business owner and took responsibility for the damage, Trulove said. Those affected must file a claim with the Risk Management division of CDOT based in Denver for the cost of repair or replacement.
"Equipment malfunction is something that's going to happen on trucks that cover as much ground as we do," Trulove said. "It was unfortunate but… this truck in particular has already been put into the shop."
Though Trulove has only seen one other such incident occur statewide in the last three years, and shop owners along Yampa Avenue agreed they'd never seen this happen before, McAnally has had issues with CDOT snow plows before.
"We've had windows on the front of the building knocked out (by gravel) in past years, so this isn't the first time we've had this issue," he said, adding that he's often frustrated by snow that gets plowed onto his sidewalk as well. "They plow from south to north, so we end up with a mountain of snow over here and there's nothing on the south side of the highway. I have this conversation with the state every year."