Moffat County roads stay clear thanks to dedicated pros |

Moffat County roads stay clear thanks to dedicated pros

Patrick Kelly

A variety of sources work daily to keep Northwest Colorado's roads clear during the winter months.

When the snow starts to fall, a fleet of highly trained professionals takes to the streets to wage war on obstructed roadways and keep those in Northwest Colorado moving.

During winter storms, Colorado Department of Transportation workers are on standby for round-the-clock patrol shifts. The 12-hour, overlapping snow shifts mean that during a storm, at least half of maintenance crewmembers on each patrol are working to ensure consistent coverage.

"It's structured this way to provide the best customer service that we can," said Tracy Trulove, CDOT Region 3 communications manager.

CDOT is responsible for plowing all state highways and splits Colorado into maintenance sections to manage the task.

Craig and Moffat County, along with bits of Routt and Rio Blanco counties, are in Region 3, Maintenance Section 6.

According to a news release from CDOT, "The entire Craig Maintenance Section has 96 maintenance workers and 64 pieces of snow removal equipment. There are 25 trucks equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks carry sand/salt for providing traction or, at optimum temperatures, sand pre-wetted with liquid deicer for traction and effective ice-melting. Section 6 maintenance crews take care of 1,704.435 lane-miles."

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Within the Craig Maintenance Section are two areas — east and west.

The West Maintenance Area includes patrols in Maybell, Skull Creek, Craig East, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Yampa, Meeker, Rifle and Rangley and contains 44 maintenance works and 28 pieces of removal equipment.

County roads that are not plowed by CDOT are the responsibility of Moffat County Road and Bridge Department.

Bill Mack, road and bridge director, said Moffat County has 17 motor graders and five plows for snow removal on the county's primary routes.

Plows hit the road at 4 a.m. and usually clear all 1,733 lane-miles by noon, he said.

Mack said one issue the county sees with snow removal is individuals who plow their own driveways and move the snow out on to the street, which is not only unsafe but also illegal.

"Folks need to clean that up or not plow out into the street because they are liable," he said. "It causes a problem for us."

CDOT encourages motorists to give plows space and be patient.

"We ask motorists to take it slow when approaching our plows and give us room to work," said Mike Goolsby, CDOT maintenance superintendent for Section 2 in a news release. "Our goal is to get the roads clear and safe as efficiently possible."