Snow & Ice Control FAQs

Below is a list of Snow & Ice FAQs. Click on a topic to view more details.

Where can I get information about the City's snow removal policies?

The City of Centennial has a Snow and Ice Control Plan(PDF, 2MB) that provides information concerning the City’s winter storm management policies and plans.

What streets are plowed by the City?

The streets that the City plows are called priority streets and are identified on the Snow Route Map. The City only plows the designated Priority 1 and Priority 2 streets. Priority 3 residential streets are not typically plowed. Priority 1 roadways are the major arterial streets and are generally located on the one-mile grid and have four (4) or more travel lanes. Also included are streets that provide access for emergency services such as fire stations, medical facilities and the Sheriff's Office. Priority 2 roadways are minor arterial and major collector streets that connect major arterial streets to residential streets. Also included are streets that provide access to school zones, major office areas and business areas such as grocery stores and service stations.

Why doesn't the City plow residential streets?

Priority 3 residential streets are not plowed except in the event of a severe winter storm and when authorized by the City Manager. There are a few residential streets that do get plowed because they are a turnaround point for the plows servicing the Priority 1 and 2 roadways. The economic and environmental cost to maintain every street for every storm is not justified because warmer weather typically follows a storm and melting occurs naturally within a short period of time. Although residential streets are generally not plowed, a request for maintenance at a specific location to eliminate a severe hazard may be made by calling the City's Citizen Response Center at 303-325-8000. The location will be inspected. Locations that receive attention are limited to hills and intersections of streets with steep grades.

What if my street is not plowed and I need emergency services?

The City is in communication with the fire districts and Sheriff’s Office during every storm event. The nearest snowplow will be directed to respond immediately to a request by a fire district or the Sheriff’s Office to plow residential streets for emergency vehicle access. Anyone needing an ambulance in a medical emergency should contact 911 and the necessary steps to plow residential streets will be coordinated.

Can additional streets be added to priority streets that are plowed by the City?

Streets that are not currently being plowed may be added if they meet the criteria of the priority policy. Due to budget impacts, requests to add a street to the priority snow routes will be compiled as they are received and evaluated after each winter season. Requests to add a street to the snow routes may be made in writing to the Field Services Manager, Public Works Department, 7272 S. Eagle St., Centennial, CO 80112 or by calling 303-325-8000.

Does the City allow snow to be plowed or shoveled into the street?

Residents, businesses, homeowner associations or their snow plowing service are not allowed to plow or shovel snow from their private property, parking areas, driveways or sidewalks into the street. Placing snow in a public street, including the gutter, is a violation that is subject to enforcement by the Sheriff’s Office. Piling or plowing snow into the street creates unsafe situations for drivers, extends the time that snow and ice will remain on the street and adds to the drainage and re-freezing problems in shaded areas.

What is the City’s policy on sidewalk snow removal?

The City does not have an ordinance requiring snow to be removed from sidewalks. The City does not maintain public sidewalks due to the lack of resources available to perform this task. In the interest of public safety and the absence of a City ordinance, the City strongly encourages citizens to remove snow from the sidewalks adjoining their property within 24 hours after a snowstorm ends. Maintenance of sidewalks along state highways in Centennial, such as University Boulevard, Arapahoe Road from I-25 to Parker Road, and Parker Road is not the responsibility of the Colorado Department of Transportation according to state statute. Sidewalk snow removal along state highways is subject to the policies and ordinances of the jurisdiction where they reside; therefore, the sidewalks along state highways in Centennial are not plowed.

What is the City’s policy on ice removal from sidewalks and gutters?

Ice build-up in the gutters and on sidewalks is not removed by the City due to a lack of resources to perform the work. Ice cutting operations are time consuming, labor and equipment intensive and damaging to curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Most build-up of ice in gutters and on sidewalks is due to cold ground and pavement temperatures at areas shaded by a house or evergreen tree on the south side of a street. Drainage from melted snow refreezes at the shaded areas. Clearing snow from the gutters and shoveling sidewalk snow away from the gutters, especially at shaded areas, can greatly reduce ice build-up problems. Also, trimming vegetation in the fall can often reduce the amount of shade, resulting in less ice build-up on the street.

What if the City plows snow onto my sidewalk?

The Public Works Department has a standard operating procedure to only plow one travel lane in each direction on the Priority 2 and 3 snow route streets. This procedure is in place to maintain traffic in two directions. Unfortunately, due to poor visibility at night or during a storm, the snowplow operators are not always able to judge the distance to the curb and snow sometimes ends up on a sidewalk. Or, the narrow width of a street may also result in snow ending up on a sidewalk. If this occurs, the City will not remove the snow; however, the street maintenance crew supervisors should be informed of any incidents to determine if snow plowing practices can be adjusted to reduce the chance of this happening. Please call the City's Citizen Response Center at 303-325-8000 to report an incident to the Field Services Manager. Also, if your schedule permits, you may want to wait to clear your sidewalk until after snow plowing has ended on your street.

What if the City plows a row of snow across my driveway?

The City’s snowplows will create a build-up or “windrow” of snow across driveways in the normal course of street plowing operations. The resident, business owner or property owner is responsible for opening driveways that are plowed closed by City snowplows. Unfortunately, since a plow truck may have to make several passes on the street during and after a storm, residents and businesses may have to remove the windrow more than once.

Why do the City snowplows spread what looks like dirt on the street?

The City uses a reddish-brown product called Ice Slicer for de-icing or to help reduce ice buildup. Ice Slicer is 92% salt with 8% minerals that give it the reddish brown color. Ice Slicer will make the snow and slush look dirty but after the streets are dry there is no dirt residue. Using Ice Slicer instead of sand reduces the “brown cloud” effect in the Denver-metro area and also reduces costs for the City by eliminating the Regional Air Quality Council requirement to sweep sand from the streets after every storm.

Why do I see City snowplows driving with their plows up and salt spreaders turned off?

Each snowplow has an assigned route. If the trucks spread salt on their way to their destination, then they wouldn't have enough to spread along their assigned snow route. The snowplows may plow City streets on the way to and from their assigned routes, but in order to reduce travel-time they usually do not plow when they are on the streets of other cities or the state.

Why can't the snow be plowed to the center of the street or onto the medians?

Streets are designed to drain from the center to the edge or to the gutter. Plowing to the center results in water sheetflowing across the street as the snow melts. A dangerous driving condition is created at night when the sheet of water refreezes.

What if my vehicle is stuck on a City snow route street during a snowstorm?

If a vehicle becomes stuck in a travel lane of a snow route during a snowstorm, the driver will need to take immediate action to have the vehicle towed to a legal parking area. The Sheriff’s Office is authorized to tow stalled or abandoned vehicles in the travel lanes of Priority 1 and Priority 2 streets. If a vehicle has been towed, the owner should contact the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher at 303-795-4711 to determine the location of the vehicle.