CDOT reminds property owners: Don’t push snow onto highways

Photo Credit: CDOT

With waves of winter storms hitting the area, the Colorado Department of Transportation reminds all property owners, renters and private snow removal operators that it is against the law to deposit snow onto or next to a public highway. Colorado law (Statute 43-5-301) prohibits the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow onto public roadways and right-of-way areas along the roadside.

“Pushing snow onto public roadways causes a hazard as snow piles become larger, freeze and are more difficult to manage with each snowstorm,” said Mike Watson, CDOT Section 3 Maintenance Superintendent in Durango. “When property owners remove snow from their driveways or sidewalks, they are required to place that snow onto their own property and not into the street. This helps reduce icy areas on streets and ensures a safe roadway for motorists and our equipment operators.”  

The illegal placement of snow onto the public roadway creates hazards such as frozen ruts or bumps that can contribute to motor vehicle crashes. Other hazards created by the improper placement of snow on or near a public roadway include drainage problems, sight obstruction and hindered highway accessibility.

CDOT snowplow operations take place during and after a snowstorm, with trucks and equipment covering more than 3,500 lane miles of roads in Region 5 (southwest Colorado) alone. Broad clearing of snow is often necessary to widen roads to ensure that ice and snow melts from the pavement surface.  

“Our operators remove snow during the storm and up to a few days after the storm event depending upon the severity of the weather conditions,” added Watson. “Unfortunately, CDOT operations may push snow back onto sidewalks and driveways. We really encourage property owners to clear a wide area next to your driveway and near the roadway. This gives plows a place to push snow and lessens the chance of a snow berm being created across your driveway.”  

Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if hazards contribute to a motor vehicle crash or pedestrian injury. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow in the roadway or ROW. For more information visit our webpage: 

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