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Town snow removal guidelines and responsibilities

In preparation of the upcoming winter snow plowing season, the Town of Pagosa Springs is providing this information to residents, business owners and snow plowing contractors regarding proper snow removal etiquette and responsibilities.

The town streets department plows 30 miles of streets and roads and is asking for everyone’s cooperation so proper and efficient street maintenance can be accomplished.

The town’s goal is to provide snow removal in a timely manner, to facilitate safe traffic flow for drivers. The time required to clear snow and ice from roads varies depending on storm intensity and duration, water content of snow, temperature, traffic conditions and time of day. Because of these variables, crews might not be able to plow or sand roads at the same time each day or, on occasion, on the same day of the storm.

Here are some reminders and responsibilities:

• Remember, it is unlawful to push or throw snow onto or across roadways. Snow left to harden damages snowplow equipment and requires tax dollar expenditures that could be used for more important town investments.

• Your snow must be disposed of on your own property.

• It is unlawful to put snow onto any public or private property or road right of way.

• It is the property/business owner’s responsibility to provide snow and ice removal on sidewalks abutting their property by noon the day following the storm.

• Do not use ice melt. Sidewalks damaged by ice melt are the responsibility of the adjoining owner for repair/replacement.

• Trash carts should be placed in the driveway, a minimum of five feet behind the front of the snow berm to minimize the possibility of being knocked over. Trash carts knocked over are the resident’s responsibility.

• It is the resident’s responsibility to remove the snow berm left from street plowing. Reasonable efforts are made to minimize the berm left behind. If you have an emergency, call 911.

What can you do to help?

• Do not park along snow routes. Parking problems are compounded by winter snow and a little extra care should be taken to avoid them.

• Parking along U.S. 160 between 2 and 6 a.m. is prohibited; this includes Pagosa Street through the downtown area.

• Do not attempt to stop a snowplow or obstruct its path. Plows must maintain speed for maximum efficiency.

• When approaching a plow from the rear, travel a minimum distance of 200 feet, allowing for scattering of sand and abrupt movements.

• Use extreme caution when passing snow removal equipment. Before you pass, honk your horn and flash your lights to alert the operator you intend to pass.

• Equipment operators often work long hours under trying conditions. Be a courteous and friendly driver around them. Help them help you.

• Be patient. Be assured that during a snow storm, every reasonable effort will be made to keep roadways open. All available personnel will be on the road during major snow storms.

• We receive many complaints from property owners regarding a neighbor moving snow onto their property. Ask for permission first; most owners are upset that this is done without permission and they usually state, “If only they would have asked, I would have said ‘yes.’”

Questions can be directed to the town’s code enforcement officer at 264-4151, Ext. 225.