Ready for snow? Craig road and bridge is |

Ready for snow? Craig road and bridge is

Snow falls in downtown Craig Tuesday afternoon, the first of the season.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

After a beautiful early-November weekend, the first thing on Craig’s mind is obvious: Snow plows.

Fortunately, Shane Baker says the plows are staffed and ready to roll. Baker, the assistant road and bridge director for the city, reports one new hire will be in training, but the rest of the 10-man crew is veterans of snow season.

“We are staffed up,” Baker said. “We have six dump trucks, two blades, and then two regular fleet vehicles, pickups, doing cul-de-sacs and driveways.”

The crew added the newcomer this year after one member left after last year, but most have been around a long time — as long as 25 or even 35 years in two cases, Baker said.

“We feel good going into (the season),” he said. “Sand is mixed, trucks are gone through.”

The preparation starts long before the first snow needs plowing. Sand is prepared, vehicles are checked top to bottom, and city-employed mechanics work on anything that needs work.

Baker estimated the average blade truck is about 15 years old, while the average dump truck is probably seven or eight years old.

The most important roads in Craig, Baker said, are actually under the purview of the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT plows Victory Way, also known as Highway 40, as well as Yampa Avenue, which is a portion of Highway 13.

“We have (the city) broken down into areas for each dump truck and each blade or regular pickup,” Baker said. “Each area has priorities — the hospital loop is a priority, schools are priorities, then hills and main traffic. Sixth Street, Seventh Street, those are main arteries, example.”

In all, the team pkows 55 miles of road each time they go out — but given each vehicle plows up and down a particular road between six and eight times each to get the full width, it’s actually closer to 400 miles traveled across the full fleet.

“We have a 2-inch policy to plow on, and we get called normally around 3 in the morning,” Baker said. “The foreman’s called, then the crew is contacted, and usually it’s about 20 minutes, sometimes half an hour to respond and you get out on your route. There’s times we’ve plowed and it won’t quit snowing so you just start right over.”

Baker feels it should be a pretty typical winter, all things considered, and is pleased to feel prepared for whatever Mother Nature might have in store.

“We’re hoping it’s business as usual,” he said. “It should be.”

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