Durango plow drivers have been working around the clock for a week to clear city roads of ice and snow, city officials said.
Last week’s storm dumped 2 to 3 feet of snow in and around Durango. Plows have been on constant rotation to keep streets clear and move snow to more suitable locations, said Levi Lloyd, director of city operations.
“We’ve been working a lot of hours,” Lloyd said.
Crews focus first on clearing snow around schools, Lloyd said. Then city workers field requests from residents who call about problems in their neighborhoods, he said. Some neighborhoods worked together to coordinate moving vehicles off the street to allow plow drivers to move snow that’s piled around parked cars.
“The biggest thing now is getting the cars off the street,” Lloyd said. “We can’t push the snow piles until these cars move.”
Since snow started falling in Durango, Basin Towing & Repair has removed between 20 and 30 vehicles from city and county roads, said Manager Paul Krueger. This past storm wasn’t that bad, he said. It was the storm in the middle of February, the one with wet, heavy snow, that caused the most problems, Krueger said.
Many of the vehicles Krueger’s crews have towed were abandoned before the snow started, he said. Some of the vehicles’ plates were expired, others didn’t have plates at all, he said.
“The biggest reason it became such a problem is because it snowed,” Krueger said.
Some snow piles around town have vehicles buried underneath them that haven’t been moved since the snow began falling, Lloyd said. Leaving vehicles parked indefinitely on the street is illegal in Durango, he said.
The city’s policy for snowplowing, except in the downtown area, is to push snow from the center line to the curb, Lloyd said. That sometimes means pushing snow into people’s driveways. While the city tries to avoid burying people’s driveways, it can’t be totally avoided. It’s part of living in snow country, he said.
Snowplow drivers aren’t insensitive to leaving snow berms in front of driveways: Some plow drivers finish their 12-hour shift to go home and shovel snow from their own driveways, he said.
“If you don’t own a snow shovel and live in Colorado, you’re going to have a bad day,” Lloyd said.