Snowbanks hindering county plows |

Snowbanks hindering county plows


PITKIN COUNTY ” A Pitkin County plow truck struck a homeowner’s snowbank on Friday evening and careened off a road near Old Snowmass, prompting a county official Tuesday to warn residents that moving snow onto county roads is illegal and poses potential danger.

No one was injured in the accident and crews were able to drag the truck out of a ditch the following day, according to Brian Pettet, director of Pitkin County Public Works.

“The county right of way seems like a good place to give the problem to somebody else,” Pettet said, adding that many homeowners think pushing snow from driveways onto roads is a good option, even though it’s not.

Pitkin County sheriff’s officials are investigating the incident, Pettet said, and the homeowner and a hired plow company could face fines and a possible civil suit under a county statute.

Homeowners often pile snow onto county roads during the day and, when the snow freezes at night, it becomes rock-hard and dangerous for county plowing crews.

The plow driver saw the snowbank from a distance on Friday, but there was no way he could stop in time, Pettet said. And, especially at night, snow piles are dangerous on county roads.

The truck was slightly damaged when two tow trucks pulled it out of the ditch, Pettet said, noting he only is concerned with driver safety in the future, not any minor damage to a county vehicle.

“When the guy has the plow down, he’s at the will of where the plow wants to go,” Pettet said.

If the driver had been just a few hundred yards farther along the road on Friday, he would have gone down a steep embankment, Pettet said.

“If you have to push the snow across the road, go back and clean up,” Pettet said. “Don’t expect the county to come in and clean it up for you.”

Anyone depositing snow on a county road could face fines between $10 and $300 and be held liable for damages, according to county staff.

Further incidents can result in jail time, according to the statute.

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