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snowy street and people shoveling

Snow Removal

Main streets, or most streets with stripes, are the priority for Public Works and our largest plows. These streets carry most of the city’s traffic as well as emergency vehicles and public transportation.

Public Works may use anti-icer and de-icer to improve the condition of the roads, both when snow starts to fall, and after snow has accumulated on the pavement. De-icing may be accomplished with the use of “Ice Slicer,” a dry, naturally mined mix of chlorides or with liquid magnesium chloride (often referred to simply as "Mag Chloride").

Snow Plan Status

The most up-to-date information on Denver Public Works' snow plan is available on DenverSnowPlan.com

Snow removal

Snow Predicted

  • When snow is predicted, staffing levels are determined based on the weather forecast.
  • Denver may use a liquid de-icer to pre-treat the streets; however it is not a common practice, as conditions have to be just right for pre-treating to be effective. Pre-treating the streets will not prevent ice from forming, but helps prevent ice from bonding to the street. Magnesium Chloride ("mag chloride") is applied to main streets when conditions permit to prevent snow from bonding to the pavement and forming ice.
  • Weather conditions must be right for anti-icing to be successful. The pavement temperature must be below freezing with low humidity for anti-icing treatment to be effective. If there is rain mixed with snow, anti-icing is not effective as the mag chloride will simply wash off the pavement. 

Snow Begins to Fall

  • When snow begins to accumulate, our heavy plows address the main streets.
  • Depending on the location, the plows may apply either Ice Slicer (a dry material that looks like sand but is a naturally mined mix of sodium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride) or liquid magnesium chloride to prevent snow/ice from bonding to the pavement.
  • De-icing material will not melt snow and ice when temperatures fall into the low 20s and below, but may provide some additional traction for vehicles.  

Major Snow Events

  • In a larger snow event, the city may deploy its smaller plows to the residential streets, and the main streets and side streeets will be plowed simultaneously.
  • De-icing materials are only applied only to main streets. Residential areas will not receive anti icing or de icing material.
  • Light plows take one swipe down the middle of every side street to prevent deep ice rutting and to keep the streets passable. These passes shave off the top few inches of snowpack and will not expose bare pavement. 

Pushing snow onto sidewalks and driveways is an unfortunate consequence of plowing any street. We apologize for any inconvenience and ask everyone to work together to clear neighborhood walkways.  

  • Main streets are the priority for Public Works and our largest plows
  • Most main streets have stripes – that’s a good way to identify them
  • These are the streets that carry most of the city’s traffic as well as emergency vehicles and public transportation.
  • We also plow around schools each morning and afternoon to provide safe zones for school children whenever possible.

“Snow Routes”

There will no longer be additional parking restrictions on “Snow Routes” – just follow the posted parking rules, even during the worst storms. If your car is parked legally, you will not receive a ticket

Denver Parks & Recreation performs snow removal on park property and select sidewalks, such as bridges and underpasses within the City. During normal snowfall, the snow will be removed as usual, including around recreation centers. Recreation Centers will also be plowed and shoveled for Saturday and Sunday hours as needed.

Each winter, the City and County of Denver receives calls regarding snow-plow operations and ice accumulation in the gutters along the streets. The Department of Public Works responds to these inquiries in several ways. While the Street Maintenance Division is directly responsible for snow and ice removal, these situations can also be an indication of other infrastructure issues, which can involve internal cooperation and coordination with several Divisions within the Department of Public Works.

The following frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) has been developed in order to help residents understand the City and County of Denver’s policies and practices regarding snow and ice removal, the causes of ice accumulation, suggestions for prevention and possible solutions, and contacts to have the problem addressed.


To have large amounts of ice removed from your gutter

Contact the Denver 311 Help Center

By phone:
Within Denver: dial 3-1-1
Outside Denver: call 720-913-1311
TTY: 720-913-8479

Monday through Friday - 7am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday - 8am to 5pm

Pocketgov:

Denver requires property owners to clear their walkways so that everyone has safe access throughout the City. Pedestrians, including senior citizens, people with disabilities, parents with strollers, and mail carriers depend on clear walkways.

  • Homeowners: Once snow has stopped falling, residences have twenty-four (24) hours to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property.
  • Businesses: Once snow has stopped falling, businesses have four (4) hours to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property.
  • Report A Problem: Please contact Denver 3-1-1 to provide the address of unshoveled sidewalks.

Snow from plowing

While pushing snow onto sidewalks by our plows doesn’t happen very often, we are truly sorry when it does. We all know how critical it is that our streets are cleared of snow for safety and accessibility purposes, and that is the top priority of Denver’s heavy snow plows. Pushing snow onto sidewalks and driveways is an unfortunate consequence of plowing any street. We don’t have a policy addressing plows pushing snow onto sidewalks because it wouldn’t be realistic to expect that of our operators. We do, however, expect them to be conscientious in their work while recognizing their goal of clearing the street of snow.

Please know that we are constantly providing our drivers with feedback on their performance and ways to minimize the occurrence of snow on sidewalks.

 
Request Snow or Ice Removal

Report street and sidewalk problems to 311 using our online help form.

Report problems like: 

  • Potholes / Sinkholes
  • Ice on streets or sidewalks
  • Debris on the street
  • Icy sidewalks
Denver 311 Help Center
Call 3-1-1
Outside Denver: Call 720-913-1311
Emergencies: 911
TTY Service: 720-913-8479