WELD COUNTY, CO — The cold, cloudy and snowy weather experienced this weekend should serve as a warning that snow, wind and winter driving conditions will soon be here to stay. To prepare for the inevitable changing weather, the Weld County Department of Public Works wants to remind drivers of the following tips to keep them safe, along with the plow truck drivers and motor grader operators responsible for snow removal on 748 miles of paved county roads and 2,158 miles of unpaved roads:
- Patience, please – During a snowstorm, teams of 22 drivers work 12-hour shifts behind county plow trucks to make paved roads passable, while 27 grader operators work throughout the county to do the same on gravel roads. Plowing arterial roads — roads that connect to high-traffic areas — is Public Works’ top priority, so please be patient when waiting for roads to be plowed.
- A passable road does not mean a completely clear road –Remember, crews work hard to make roads passable, not completely clear. Always drive for conditions (monitor speed, leave earlier than normal and leave extra space — at least 250 feet — between yourself and plow trucks.)
- Monitor weather conditions. If you don’t have to go out, don’t –Of the many factors people should evaluate before heading out into snowy weather, Public Works Deputy Director Curtis Hall said the impact of wind on visibility should be considered. “High winds along with snow accumulation affect a vehicle’s ability to move through the snow as well as visibility, and we ask that people weigh these factors before making the choice to go out in the snow,” Hall said.
While dealing with snow packed and icy roads can be frustrating, Weld County Public Works Director Jay McDonald wants to remind travelers that those behind the county’s 22 plow trucks and 27 motor graders are working as quickly as they can to make the roads passable. It’s a goal met every year, but the effort of the fleet in responding to a countywide blizzard this past March should give people added confidence in its ability to tackle challenges this year.
“I’m proud of my team’s response to snow events and to their continued dedication,” McDonald said. “People don’t realize what it’s like behind the wheel a snowplow and the concentration and mental sharpness required of our drivers to help people get where they need to be safely and efficiently. However, when drivers travel at safe speeds, consistently monitor weather conditions and give at least 250 feet between themselves and our plows, that difficult task is much easier.”
In addition to following these tips, now is a great time to prepare vehicles for winter driving. Information can be found in the Emergency Preparedness Guide at www.weldoem.com. Learn more about county snow removal by reviewing Public Works’ Snow and Ice Program.