Snowstorm forecast for mid-week; city prepares, reminds residents to clear snow from sidewalks

 Colorado weather can be unpredictable.  Recent warm temperatures are forecasted to change drastically and potentially drop several inches of snow on Wednesday, Oct. 26.  The City of Boulder is doing everything it can to prepare for whatever winter might have in store.

 Snow removal procedures on city streets

The city’s Public Works Department has snow crews on-call 24-hours a day, seven days a week to respond to changing weather conditions.  During snowstorms, there are 16 plow trucks on Boulder streets.  Six of them distribute a liquid deicer, four spreader trucks distribute traction materials, and seven can distribute either.  Fifteen trucks drive predetermined routes while one “floater” responds to problem areas.

Plows push the snow to the center lane where space is available.  If space is not available, the snow is pushed to the side of the street. A liquid deicer is used on both streets and bike paths.

The city also applies deicing agents to streets and bridges for ice and snow control. Streets may be pretreated before a storm to reduce the build-up of snow and ice, depending on weather conditions. The liquid deicer may also be applied throughout a storm to continue melting the snow pack.  Spreader trucks put down a crystallized deicer and lightweight, porous rock for traction, where needed.

Snow removal on city streets depends on the amount of snow and length of the storm, time of day, temperature and traffic conditions. Because most snow melts within a day or two in Boulder’s sunny climate and because plowing costs would increase by 200 percent, the City of Boulder does not plow residential streets. Plowing residential streets also blocks driveways and parked cars.

 Sidewalk snow removal information


The Boulder Police Department recently took over the enforcement of a number of city code violations from the Public Works Department, including enforcement of the sidewalk snow removal ordinance.

The Boulder Revised Code (8-2-13) states that owners, tenants and landlords must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Residents will be responsible for checking with the National Weather Service for specific snow fall completion information. Failure to remove snow before the deadline may result in a summons and/or an abatement process.

Each property will receive only one warning per snow season before the abatement process begins. A warning does not have to be issued in order for a code enforcement officer to issue a summons. Abatement includes the use of a private snow removal contractor to clear the sidewalk; the property owner will be charged a $50 administrative fee along with the contractor’s fee for removing the snow.

If a summons is issued, the maximum fine is $1,000 and 90 days in jail as determined by a municipal judge. The fine for a first-time offense is $100.

For people who are physically unable to clear snow from their sidewalks, the ICEBUSTERS program may be able to pair them with someone who can do the work for them. Volunteers are needed for this program. To volunteer or learn more, please contact the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at 303-443-1933 or email