Weather means glitches for drivers


Two weekends ago, temperatures well below zero led to frozen water pipes and dead car batteries. This past weekend and through Monday, a different kind of winter weather -- piles of snow and blustery winds --made driving in Routt County a hazardous task.

"We've been busy," Sgt. Jim Copley of the Colorado State Patrol said Monday afternoon. "A lot of slide-offs, a lot of motor assists and a few accidents, but no serious injuries so far."

An 18-wheel tractor-trailer blocked both lanes of Routt County Road 129, about a mile north of U.S. Highway 40, for part of Monday afternoon. The rig was traveling from Grand Junction to Denver and had just dropped off a load of wood shavings at the Elk River Farm & Feed store.

While attempting to turn left onto C.R. 129, the truck skidded across the road, burying its nose in a "phantom shoulder" ditch.

"It just lost traction, slid, and that was it," said the truck's driver, who declined to give his name.

A phantom shoulder occurs when roads are plowed wider than the pavement, causing feet of powdery snow to look like part of the road.

A Steamboat Springs School District bus got stuck in such a shoulder late Monday afternoon. The bus was headed toward Milner on U.S. 40 and became stuck in a ditch after the driver tried to pull over during whiteout conditions.

No injuries occurred in the incident, one of many around Routt County.

"This is much worse than last year, probably three times worse," said Sue McGlone, co-owner of American Towing and Westside Auto in Steamboat.

"It's bad -- a lot of vehicles in the ditch," said Undersheriff Dan Taylor of the Routt County Sheriff's Department.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail


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