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Snow and Ice Control Program

The City of Boulder's official "snow season" begins Labor Day 2016 and ends Memorial Day 2017. 

City crews help keep Boulder's primary and secondary streets, on-street bike lanes, and multi-use paths safe and open to traffic during and after snowstorms. Here are some key things you can do to stay informed and help out during a snow event:

City snow plows must maintain designated routes first. However, during extreme weather events and after designated routes have been cleared, crews may respond to snow plow requests for issues such as clearing other impassable roads or maintaining Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations. Snow plow requests may be submitted to the Inquire Boulder service or by calling Snow Dispatch at 303-413-7109 (operational 24/7 during snowstorms). The city will respond to requests in the order received.

Detailed Information

Clearing Streets

Map of City of Boulder Snow Removal Routes pdf

During snowstorms, 17 plow trucks operate on Boulder streets, clearing primary and secondary streets pdf throughout the city.

Primary Streets
The major streets that provide regional travel connections are the city's first priority. Eight plow trucks operate on four primary routes (two per route), which are prioritized to serve major streets that provide regional travel connections. 

Secondary Streets
Seven plow trucks operate on secondary routes (one truck per route), which include streets that provide access to schools, hospitals, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus routes, and connections to primary streets.

Snow is typically plowed into the center dividing lane to prevent buildup on sidewalks. On some streets, there is not enough room for center-lane plowing, so snow is pushed to the side. This may temporarily narrow vehicle, bike and turn lanes.

Dig deeper into the following, specific route information:

De-icing and Anti-icing Materials
Depending on weather conditions, the city may also apply a granular and/or liquid de-icer to help reduce the buildup of snow and ice. The city uses alternative de-icing materials instead of rock salt. The liquid de-icer is a magnesium chloride solution, a plant nutrient and soil stabilizer that is less corrosive than other de-icing products. The granular de-icer is made up of complex chlorides that dissolve over time.

The city strives to sweep all primary and secondary streets and on-street bike lanes within four days of a snowstorm to pick up any surplus materials.

Residential Street Plowing Program pdf

Generally, like other Front Range communities, the city does not usually plow side and residential streets since most snow usually melts within a day or two and because side and residential street plowing would significantly increase costs, impacting other high-priority services.

The city began its residential street plowing program during the 2014-2015 snow season, incorporating select streets that were prioritized based on an analysis of residential street slopes. When eight or more inches of snow accumulate and temperatures remaine below freezing for 72 consecutive hours, the city will deploy two trucks to plow residential streets in the  10 predetermined areas with steep slopes. These streets were selected because of safety concerns caused by steep grades and shade. If both criteria are met between Dec. 1, 2016 and March 1, 2017, the residential street plowing proejct will be activated and the city will post notifications on the city's website and social media. This residential street plowing program is funded from a 2013 voter-approved tax initiative that provides additional transportation funding from 2014 through 2030.​

To request plowing on a specific street, call 303-413-7109 or submit a Snow Plow Request. The city will respond to plowing requests in the order received, with priority given to requests related to ADA accommodations. 

Clearing Sidewalks

Boulder property owners, landlords and tenants are responsible for removing snow and ice from adjacent sidewalks within 24 hours after snow stops falling, based on the National Weather Service official snowfall report. By clearing sidewalks in a timely manner, you make travel safer for everyone. Failure to remove snow from sidewalks before the 24-hour deadline may result in fines and/or abatement, which requires the responsible party to pay for a private snow removal contractor to clear the sidewalks.

Except in residential areas, snow cannot be plowed into any street or alleyway by any person other than by City of Boulder snow removal crews.

If your sidewalk is adjacent to a primary snow removal route, please wait until the snow plows have cleared the streets before shoveling. Plows may need to push snow onto curbs and sidewalks to keep the streets clear.

What to do:

  • Determine when snowfall has stopped ​by visiting the National Weather Service snowfall report, and look for the last recording of "Light Snow" or "Snow."
  • Remove snow and ice from your sidewalk within 24 hours of last snow fall. Boulder's ​Code Enforcement pdf officers may issue a summons to persons failing to comply with the snow removal ordinance. The fine for a first offense is $100. The maximum fine is $1,000 and 90 days in jail. Violations can result in a municipal summons issued to the responsible party and/or an abatement, which includes calling in a private snow removal contractor to clear the sidewalks. The property owner will be charged a $50 administrative fee, along with the cost to remove the snow. Properties that receive an abatement warning have 24 hours from the time and date written on the top of the warning to remove the snow themselves. Learn more: Boulder Code Enforcement Brochure pdf.
  • Report sidewalk violations.  Call Code Enforcement at 303-441-3333.
  • Need help removing snow?  Seniors and disabled residents who are physically unable to remove snow from their sidewalks may receive volunteer assistance through the Boulder County CareConnect  IceBusters Program . Volunteer for snow removal with IceBusters or call 303-443-1933 ext. 402 to volunteer or ext. 416 to request assistance.

Clearing Bikeways and Bus Stops

Multi-use Paths:  Snow crews begin plowing the city's major multi-use paths at the same time as the primary and secondary streets. The Boulder Creek and Broadway paths are plowed first, followed by the Foothills Parkway path and other Greenways paths.

The Boulder Creek Path is maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department and the section of the Broadway multi-use path between Regent Drive and University Avenue is maintained by the University of Colorado Facilities Management (303-492-5522.). All other multi-use paths are maintained by City of Boulder Transportation Maintenance or the adjacent property owner.

Map of Residential Street Plowing Program pdf

Bike Lanes:  On-street bike lanes are cleared as part of street snow removal operations. During heavier snows, on-street bike lanes may not be completely cleared of snow and ice as plowed snow builds up along the curb and gutter. Please be cautious in these areas.

Bus Stops:  With nearly 1,000 bus stops located within Boulder, the city and Regional Transportation District (RTD) are able to provide regular maintenance at high-use bus stops to the extent that human and financial resources permit. Snow removal is performed at the remaining RTD transit stops on a limited basis by city staff or contractors, typically by request only.

Winter Travel Safety and Other Tips

Be Aware of Accident Alerts

The Boulder Police Department may declare an accident alert if severe weather conditions exceed the department's capacity to respond to individual vehicular accidents. During an accident alert, the police will not respond to vehicular accidents unless there are injuries or alcohol or drugs are involved. If you are in a vehicular accident during an accident alert, check for injuries. If no one is injured, move the vehicles out of traffic. Drivers must exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, vehicle descriptions and license numbers. Record the date, time, and location of the accident before leaving the scene and then file a report with the Boulder Police Department within 24 hours.

Take Extra Care When Operating a Vehicle
To make winter travel safer:

  • Give snow plows and spreader trucks plenty of room to operate.
  • Allow for more stopping distance on icy or snowy roads when behind other vehicles, includings snow plows and spreader trucks. Loaded spreader trucks weigh up to 54,000 pounds and drive slow. Spreader trucks have spinners that distribute traction materials across two lanes of traffic. When you are behind a spreader truck, allow for adequate stopping distance and stay at least three to four car-lengths behind spreader trucks to avoid windshield damage.
  • Do   not   pass snow plows or spreader trucks, which are both wider than one traffic lane. This will help you avoid potential accidents, windshield damage, and limited visibility caused by flying snow and ice.
  • Consider other transportation options during snowstorms, which helps reduce the number of vehicles on the roadways and gives plow trucks more room to operate.

Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Snow Removal Outside City Limits

Contact Phone Hours
Boulder County Road Maintenance 303-441-3962 M7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday 
Boulder County Sheriff Dispatch 303-441-4444 After hours and weekends
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) 303-442-4382 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Highway Conditions in the Denver Metro Area 303-639-1111 24/7 recording

Map of Boulder County Snow Removal Routes pdf


Contact Info

Service Contact Phone Hours
Snow Plow Request Snow Dispatch 303-412-7109 Operational 24/7 during snowstorms
Snowfall Report Code Enforcement 303-441-3333 Operational 24/7 during snowstorms
Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal Code Enforcement 303-441-3333 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday
Assistance with Sidewalk Snow Removal IceBusters Snow and Ice Removal 303-443-1933 ext. 416 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Inside Boulder News - IceBusters Program

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