Snow Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Doesn't The City Plow All Streets?
The Streets Department maintains more than 1,100 lane miles of Priority 1, 2 and 3 streets. The remaining Priority 4 streets (residential streets) are plowed only when snow accumulation completely blocks traffic movement. This is a rare occurrence in Fort Collins and is very costly to do. Priority 4 streets are not routinely plowed and de-iced because the lower traffic volume and traffic speeds do not typically warrant the expense. Additionally, because of the frequency of sunny conditions, there are few cities along the Front Range that routinely plow residential streets. The Streets Department will apply deicing materials on residential intersections on a case-by-case basis.
- There Are Big Drifts On My Street And I Can’t Drive Down It. Can You Do Something?
If large drifts present hazardous conditions, citizens should notify the Streets Department at 970-221-6615. Streets will be prioritized for plowing and deicing according to the severity of the problem.
- There Is A Lot Of Ice-buildup On The Curb And Gutters, And Now It Is Forming Over The Sidewalk. Can You Do Something?
Some streets in the City do not receive much direct sunlight, prohibiting a natural thawing of snow and ice. Consequently, ice build-up will block storm drains and create hazardous conditions if it forms over the sidewalk. The Streets Department will cut ice along severely affected streets after plowing operations have finished.
- What Does The City Use To De-ice The Streets?
The City uses a variety of environmentally safe deicing materials that help contribute to safe driving conditions.
- Apex Meltdown: This is our primary liquid deicer. Its base is a corrosion inhibitor that is derived from organic polymers blended with a 30 percent concentrate of magnesium chloride. This product is no more corrosive than water.
- Ice Buster: This salt product is pre-wetted with Apex Meltdown to reduce corrosion while increasing deicing performance.
- NC3000: This liquid product is used to primarily deice bridges and concrete surfaces. The products corrosiveness is less than that of water.
The City does not use 100% Magnesium Chloride or sand because of the detrimental effects to air quality and to the environment. All City snowplows have Automated Vehicle Locators based on a Global Positioning System to track material usage and route information for enhanced productivity.
- Why Not Plow To The Center Of The Street?
Plowing snow to the center of the street can be very hazardous to motorists; traffic flow is restricted by eliminating a portion of a lane, the freeze/thaw cycle deteriorates the pavement, and icy driving conditions are created when the melting snow freezes on the pavement every night. This practice can also create sight obstructions for low vehicles, and cause problems for residents entering and exiting roadways. The Streets Department practices removing snow from curb to curb.
- The Plows Have Blocked My Driveway With Snow. Will You Come And Clear It?
When you consider the large number of driveways in the city, it’s just too costly and time consuming to use additional people and equipment to perform this service. Our primary duty is to clear and keep open more than 540 lane miles of designated snow routes.
- The Snow Plows Have Covered My Sidewalk With Snow. Now What?
The Streets Department will make every effort to clear sidewalks that have been covered by City plows at no cost to the property owner. Sidewalks that are plowed-over will be cleared by City crews or contractors. To report a plowed-over sidewalk, please call the Streets Department at 221-6615.
- Can I Park My Car On A Snow Route?
Sure, but when snow begins to accumulate, we ask that you find an alternate place to park. This enables snow plows to remove all of the snow from the street, curb-to-curb, without having to swerve around parked vehicles. When plowing is completed, citizens may park their vehicles back on the street. Vehicles will be towed on posted Snow Emergency Routes only during a declared snow emergency, or if they are in violation of other parking restrictions. Snow Emergency Routes are posted on major arterial streets such as Mulberry, Lemay, Laporte, etc.
- My Car Was Towed. Where Is It?
If the Streets Department is forced to tow your vehicle, you can call either the Police Department at 970-221-6540 or the Streets Department at 970-221-6615 to find out where your vehicle is located. Typically, vehicles are towed at the owner’s expense. Vehicles are impounded by a towing company and fees must be collected from the owner before the vehicle is released.
- I Would Like To Volunteer To Help An Elderly Or Handicapped Person Shovel Their Sidewalk. What Should I Do?
Great! We need more volunteers to help. Please call Neighborhood Services at 970-224-6046 to find out about the Adopt-a-Neighbor program. Or, you may choose to ask someone on your block if they might appreciate your help during snowstorms, and exchange phone numbers.
- My Neighbors Never Shovel Their Sidewalk. What Can I Do?
Residents are required by City ordinance to shovel their sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a storm. If you are concerned about unshoveled sidewalks, please report it online to the Nuisance Hotline or by calling 970-416-2200.