Winter Snow Removal
During the winter season we continually have crews working in an effort to care for the approximately 150 inches of snow that falls on the City streets in an average winter season.
We use 3/8 inch washed rock as our sanding material. This product is dense and takes longer to break down than traditional sanding products, helping to reduce the dust throughout the winter and into the spring season.
In addition to the sanding material we also use aggressive plowing.
We prioritize the streets according to traffic volumes and public safety requirements, focusing first on bus routes and primary access routes for emergency vehicles.
The Street Department has coverage 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. In addition, Street Department personnel are on call 24 hours a day year-round to respond to road conditions.
Streets are plowed with four motor graders, two front-end loaders and two sand trucks with plows. In the downtown core and on Main Street the snow is plowed to the middle of the street whenever we have three inches or more of snowfall in one event. A loader with a snow blower attachment is used to blow the snow into trucks which haul it to our snow storage site located outside of town. The loaders plow the alleys and remove the snow piles from the mall area. Approximately twenty contracted trucks are used when needed for snow removal. Working during the early morning hours allows us to clear the streets safely and in the shortest time possible, with minimal impact to traffic and residents.
As a general rule, snow on residential neighborhood streets is plowed half to one side, half to the other side of each street. This is done by circling the blocks, starting in the center of the street with a motor grader with a snow plow wing attachment. We work our way to the sides of the street where we leave the snow in the City right-of-way, which we call our snow storage area. If snow from residential sidewalks, driveways or mailbox areas is put in the street it will be plowed back to the side of the road to remove the safety hazard from the street. Please note that the City is not responsible for snow removal in or around sidewalks, driveways and mailboxes. All snow from private property or adjacent sidewalks should be stored on private property or be put in the snow storage area, located in the first five feet outside the edge of the asphalt or curb and gutter.
The commercial core is located from Main to Durant and Original to Aspen Streets, the snow is plowed to the center of the street and then hauled to our snow storage facility. We also plow to the end of each core alley. Please do not place snow from private property or sidewalks in the street or into the snow piles at the end of the alleys. This creates a safety hazard and is in violation of the Municipal Code (Chapter 21.32). Within the City of Aspen, adjacent property owners/tenants are responsible for proper same-day removal of snow from sidewalks, without depositing the snow in the City streets.
Streets - Snow removal crews sometimes work long hours to keep the streets safe. We ask for everyone’s cooperation to help keep them safe as well. Remember, plow trucks cannot stop or turn as readily as most vehicles. Please allow ample space for our snowplows to maneuver freely.
Driveways - When plowing is required, snow berms are created across driveways. Removal of this snow in driveways is the responsibility of the property owner. The Department tries to keep this problem to a minimum. We ask the citizen of Aspen to be patient and recognize that during the winter months there will be some inconvenience. Snow operations are labor intensive and equipment does fail on occasion.
Private Snow Plowing - Property owners should be aware that the placing, dumping or pushing of snow onto Town streets or right-of-ways from adjacent properties is prohibited. (Chapter 21.32). Aspen Municipal Code.
During the wintertime crews work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to clear snow and ice on Aspen streets. Here are a few simple things you can do to help crews during that time.
Be patient. The town's main priorities begin with bus routes and commercial routes/areas, then residential areas.
Observe "No Parking 3:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m." signs. During the late night and early morning hours crews plow and haul snow away from commercial areas, side streets.
Be a good neighbor. It is unlawful to push or plow your snow into or across the roadway. Homeowners and residents are responsible for maintaining their own driveways and parking areas. Your snow must be disposed of on your own property. Disposing of snow in roadways will only affect your neighbor. This code will be enforced and fines may apply.
Why isn’t my road plowed when everyone else’s road is?
Roads are plowed on a priority basis dependent on weather conditions.
Why can’t the snowplow driver change the angle of the blade to avoid plowing snow into my driveway?
Driveway maintenance (snow removal, cleaning, etc.) remains the responsibility of the property owner. The response time to relocate the plow blade angle makes it infeasible to try and blade snow away from driveways.
After my driveway has been plowed the City snowplows plow snow back onto my driveway or walks. Who is responsible for clearing the snow?
The property owner or resident is responsible for clearing their driveway. Driveways are only an easement onto city roads and are the responsibility of the property owner.
The City of Aspen has tested various deicing chemicals, in the search for an environmentally safe, effective and affordable alternative to sanding the roads. We are currently applying no type of deicer chemicals to any street maintained by the City of Aspen.
The Street Department uses an average of 389 tons of 3/8’’ washed chip rock per winter season to improve traction on the City streets. This material is hard and dustless, thereby helping to reduce dust/PM-10 in the air. The City applies sanding material in the commercial core, on Main Street, and on bus/emergency vehicle routes and roads that have steep grades. Gravel is also applied at major intersections where stopping and turning are difficult.
It is unsafe and unlawful to proceed past a road closure for any reason, in any season.
Winter Driving Tips
Please use the free in-town bus service whenever possible. (Call 925-8484 for route and schedule information.)
Parking is restricted in the Commercial Core and on State Highway 82 (Main Street and Original Street) between 3a.m. and 7a.m. The Core area boundaries are Main to Durant, Original to Aspen Streets.
Keep the streets clear by storing snow from your sidewalk, driveway and mailbox area on your property, or in the first five feet from the edge of the asphalt in the residential neighborhoods.
Start and stop gradually. Drive at steady speeds, avoiding sudden starts of stops. Accelerate slightly when approaching a hill, then maintain a steady speed going up. Gear down (down shift) to avert wear on brakes and sustain control.
To avoid skids, drive sensibly and steadily. Anticipate turns and lane changes. If the vehicle begins to skid, remove your foot from the accelerator or brake and steer in the direction of the skid. After you regain control of the vehicle, straighten and proceed.
Use gentle braking pressure on slippery road conditions. To avoid locking wheels, use a gentle pumping action on disc brakes, but steady gentle pressure on anti-lock brake systems. Drive through curves at a safe, steady speed and gear down for both uphill and downhill.