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Crews Keep Busy Clearing Mountain Roads During Winter Storm

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)– Another day of heavy snowfall in the mountains has crews working around the clock to keep roads clear for traffic.

Colorado Department of Transportation workers have been working to keep Vail Pass along Interstate 70 clear during the past few days when snow has been piling up.

“We knew about this storm last week. The forecasters got it pretty good this time and we just prepared for it, we had a game plan,” said CDOT Transportation Maintenance spokesman Ronald Johnson.

Shifts among the crews have been staggered so there is 24-hour coverage on the roads. The plows have been going non-stop all week to keep I-70 clear for traffic.

“It has been long hours, a lot of snow, a lot of action as far as keeping the road open,” said Johnson.

At sunrise on Thursday plows lined up in a formation four deep to try to remove as much snow as possible.

“We move all of the snow over to the shoulder to the right to more efficiently stack it back,” said Johnson.

When some of the snow remains on the road, crews spread liquid de-icer which helps for the next convoy of plows.

“We can cut down into it to breathe then penetrate it with our liquids that will penetrate the top layer and get under the ice to quickly break that bond,” said Johnson.

With the snow continuing to fall it takes constant work to keep the road clear. The crews will continually make laps up and down Vail Pass.

Even with all the extra hours, Johnson said clearing the road is not a bad thing, “We’re hoping we get it. We need it.”

In addition to clearing fresh snow, crews were also busy clearing snow from avalanche control efforts along Vail Pass. I-70 was closed twice on Thursday for avalanche control.

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