DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Public Works announced Sunday it will deploy residential snowplows to plow side streets because of the heavy snow expected.

Residential plows are 4×4 pick-up trucks with plows. The plows shave off the very top few inches of snowpack to prevent deep rutting that occurs when snow freezes, rendering the street undrivable.

“Our heavy plows will continue to address Denver’s main streets, or most streets with stripes. The residential plows do not bring the street to bare pavement; they only make the street more drivable and ultimately safer,” DPW said in a statement.

The residential snowplows are called upon when DPW decides there is a snow emergency in the city. The program is expensive and uses a lot of resources. The trucks are owned by Public Works, Parks and Recreation and one private contractor.

“The residential plows take one swipe down the middle of every side street to prevent deep ice rutting and to keep the streets passable,” DPW said. “The residential areas will not receive any anti-icing or de-icing material.”

According to DPW, the last official deployment of the residential plows was in Feb. 2012, and once before that in 2007. The concept was thought up during the blizzards of 2006 and 2007 when many residents were upset the side streets were not clear in a reasonable amount of time. DPW said it typically takes about three days to clear all of the side streets.

Ann Williams with DPW told CBS4 that Monday morning’s commute could be a mess.

“It’s going to be challenging and people should allow a lot of extra time. This is a major snowstorm and people need to treat it as such,” Williams said. “Plan your morning so you have extra time. Make sure that you’ve made time to clean your sidewalks so folks can get down your street. It’s all about planning ahead and being courteous to others.”


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