Snow and Ice Control
View the city snow removal map
Westminster’s goal during any snowstorm is to keep primary and secondary streets open and safe for the motoring public. Each storm, a total of 571 lane miles is serviced. When a major snowstorm is experienced, city crews and contractors service all 1,053 lane miles.
A total of 18 snow routes have assigned trucks fully equipped with the latest technology in computerized hydraulic systems, plows and spreaders. Snow fighting operations have been established capable of 24-hour coverage.
In addition to primary and secondary streets, priorities are given to streets adjacent to hospitals, police, fire/rescue squad stations, schools, RTD bus routes, and dangerous intersections, hills, or curves on residential streets.
All remaining residential streets only receive service after the above priorities are attended to, and snow accumulations are greater than 8 inches.
Please refer to the attached map for an outline of primary and secondary routes.
Priority 1. Primary Routes: All arterials and major collector streets considered to be the minimum network which must be kept open to provide a transportation system covering the major traffic volume streets and providing access to hospitals, police stations, fire stations and rescue squad units.
Priority 2. Secondary Routes: Collector streets and select residentials providing access to emergency stations, schools and bus routes.
Priority 3. Residential Areas: Dangerous intersections, hills, and curves.
Category 1: 1 inch or less of snow resulting in icy conditions throughout the city. All primary, secondary, hazardous stops, hills and emergency facilities are salt/sanded.
Category 2: 2 inches of snow resulting in slick, slushy conditions throughout the city. Primary and secondary streets, plus hazardous stops, hills and all emergency facilities are salt/sanded and plowed.
Category 3: Greater than 2 inches of snow with wind causing blizzard conditions. All primaries are plowed, salt/sanded until the storm subsides, then secondary and residentials affected by drifting are plowed and salt/sanded.
Category 4: A major snowstorm greater than 8 inches of snow, possible closures due to drifting and blizzard conditions. Concentration is given to primaries and emergency facilities. Priorities to secondary and residential streets are plowed and salt/sanded as soon as possible thereafter. The acceptable level of service for residential roadways is to provide a navigable surface; this is, the street may have snow or packed ice on it but plowing and material application allows a vehicle to travel the street safely on at least one center lane. When plowing is required, windrows of snow across driveways are created and opening of driveways are the responsibility of the property owner.
Major Snow Emergency (Category 4) Declared
Stage 1 - Blizzard Conditions – average duration 12-18 hours
- City Hall Emergency Coordination Center (City Hall ECC) opened
- MSC Street Operations Emergency Center (MSC EOC) opened
- Call Center at MSC EOC is staffed 24 hours a day until post storm operations are completed
- Contractual assistance is deployed
- Primary roadways and emergency facilities maintained
Stage 2 – Snow/Wind Ends – average duration 12 hours
- Widen primaries
- Service secondary
- Plow/de-ice residentials
- Residential streets may remain hard packed but accessible until snow melts
Stage 3 – Post Storm – (simultaneous with Stage 2) – average duration 12 hours
- Hauling operations
- Intersection cleanup
- Bus shelters and cluster mailboxes cleaned up
- Storm drains serviced as necessary
Questions on snow removal operations should be directed to the Street Operations Division at 303-658-2501, or e-mail us. Also, please refer to the frequently asked questions below.
Snow and ice control frequently asked questions
Q. Why doesn’t the city plow residential streets after every storm?
A. City policy is that residential streets are only plowed after a storm leaving more than 8 inches of snow and only after the primary and secondary routes are completely cleared. The only residential streets that you may see plowed are those in front of schools. For more information, please refer to the city snow removal priorities. To determine what snowplow route you are on, please refer to the snow removal map.
Q. Why do the plows cover over the areas I just shoveled? Am I responsible for those areas?
A. Snowplow drivers will make every effort to avoid plowing snow onto sidewalks. However, there may be times that this cannot be avoided and sidewalks may become blocked. Residents’ responsibilities are outlined in the City Code (8-1-10) and include removal of all snow or ice from the sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a storm.
Q. My neighbors never clear their sidewalk. What can I do?
A. Residents are required by City Code to clear their sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a storm. If you are concerned about uncleared sidewalks, you can contact Code Enforcement at 303-658-4432.
Q. How can I help people that need assistance clearing their sidewalk?
A. Become a Snowbuster Volunteer.
Q. Who is responsible for clearing city-owned sidewalks?
A. Sidewalks that are owned by the city will be cleared by the Parks, Recreation and Libraries Department. They can be reached at 303-658-2192.
Q. What material does the city use for de-icing the streets?
A. The city uses de-icing salt on the roads. Sand is not used on the roads due to the high cost and substantial environmental impact. City crews are annually trained on sensible salting techniques, and all snow trucks are calibrated to spread only the amount of de-icing salt required to de-ice the roadways.
Q. There is a lot of ice build-up on the curb and gutters, and now it is forming over the sidewalk. Will the city do something?
A. At the end of the storm and after all plowing operations have ceased, the city will systematically begin to examine storm drains and crosspans to determine if they need to be cleared. If you wish to report a problem, see the contact information below.
Q. Who do I call to report street problems?
A. You should contact the Streets Division at 303-658-2501, Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you encounter an emergency situation after hours, call 911.
Q. Why is only the center of the street plowed on residential streets?
A. Residential streets will only be plowed in the event of a major snowstorm (see city snow removal policy for details). When conditions warrant, residential streets will be plowed to give residents access to the secondary and primary roads. Plowing from curb to curb is not practical because it would require more time and moving of many vehicles that park on the streets. When plowing down the middle of residential streets is required, piles of snow called “windrows” are often created that can block private driveways. Clearing the snow from driveways is the responsibility of the property owners.
Q. I saw a city snowplow driving around during the storm with its blade up. Why wasn’t it plowing?
A. It is the goal of the city to plow streets systematically based on traffic volume. When snowplows are moving from one location to another, or returning to refuel or have more de-icing material loaded on the truck, they travel with their plow blades up.
Q. The Post Office has told me they will not deliver mail because of the snow in front of the mailboxes. What will the city do?
A. The City of Westminster works with the Post Office for plowing the street where mail carriers deliver mail to cluster boxes. However, the sidewalks in front of these cluster mailboxes are the responsibility of either the homeowners associations or the property owners adjacent to the boxes. The clearing of sidewalks around mailboxes at individual resident properties is the responsibility of the property owner.
Q. What can I do to prepare for a severe winter storm, and what do I do if I am trapped in a storm situation?
A. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with a major snowstorm or extreme cold. The impacts include flooding, storm surge, closed highways, blocked roads, downed power lines and hypothermia. You can protect yourself and your household from the many hazards of winter by planning ahead. More information is on the Emergency Management section of the website.