Officials: Residents, contractors frustrate removal efforts


— Jim Weber wishes some people would admit that it's winter.

Weber, of the Steamboat Springs Public Works Department, said recent snowfall and freezing temperatures have done little to dissuade some of Steamboat's many builders. In some cases, Weber has had to disappoint those who want to dig across city streets.

"They want to dig across the pavement," Weber said. "People seem to forget that we don't allow open cuts after Nov. 1. I would have to assume their management and training skills need some improvement."

Weber said construction projects have impeded the city's ability to keep some streets clear, especially when materials are stored in the public right-of-way.

"We have a number of things that are ongoing with aspects of construction that are in the right-of-way," Weber said. "The plows will tend to stay away from that, which decreases the travel width."

Weber said stacking materials near the roadway is "theoretically" illegal, but no one has been punished.

"The building department says you're supposed to store all materials on site," Weber said. "There are some enforcement issues that need to be investigated. : Historically, it has been a problem."

Weber would not be specific about which projects are causing problems, but he said they include commercial developments and single-family homes.

"I can't be specific about it," Weber said. "I don't think it's fair."

In Routt County, Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper is starting to distribute bright green warning fliers to those who plow snow from their driveway to the opposite side of the road.

"This is a particular problem this year," said Draper, who noted snow from driveways should be stored on the same side of the road, and to the sides of the driveway. "When you plow your driveway, you can't drive across the road. It would be like dragging a tree in the road for the county to clean up.

"What we want our citizens to do is: the snow on your side of the road stays on your side of the road."

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said commissioners are supporting an informational approach to solving the problem, but stricter enforcement might be used if the problem continues.

"A big concern is the safety of our traveling public on our roads," Monger said. "If it continues, we'll see what we have to do."

The county is particularly focusing on changing the behavior of contract snow-removal operations that may be new to the business and don't know the rules.


outsiderlookingin 9 years, 5 months ago

Jim get over it and join the new century. "We don't allow cuts in the road after Nov 1" Just because you use to do things a certain way doesn't mean that's the way it has to be. What do you want the construction guys to do? go skiing!! with the rest of the long hairs who don't have a job?? Get real the rest of the world works 50 weeks a year and so should Steamboat.


id04sp 9 years, 5 months ago


Lived in the mountains, have you?

The ground feezes 4 feet deep around here. There's a lot that you don't understand. It's much more than digging a hole and refilling it when the temps dip below zero.


fish 9 years, 5 months ago

Obviously that is not a concern for outsiderlookin because they don't have to worry about anything so mundane as the ground freezing. Must be one of the superintendants from one of the construction jobs or a developer.


outsiderlookingin 9 years, 5 months ago

id and fish if anything is obvious it's that neither of you have ever worked heavy equipment in your lives if you have ever worked at all. 1st off, the ground is far from frozen to 4 feet right now. 2nd, the only thing keeping the backhoe from digging is if the hydraulic lines freeze, or the steel teeth snap in the cold. And to prove I live here Why are they digging up the hill behind McDonalds? Oh I know the ground is frozen and therefore the mud won't slide!!!


id04sp 9 years, 5 months ago


As a matter of fact, yeah, I built houses with my own two hands, including the one I live in in Routt County, and guess what, I'm a pretty good trackhoe operator too. I was allowed to make water and sewer taps on November 16th one year, but that was a "special exception" because of the warm spell we'd had.

The concern is not so much the digging as it is to replace the soil and recompact it to prevent settling. Not such a big deal behind McDonald's, but a little dip in the pavement from settling next summer leads to pot holes, road closures, street repairs at city expense, etc.

Once the excavation is dug, if it's left open at all, the weather can change to below zero and freeze everything in the hole. If you try to refill the hole and compact it after the soil in the hole freezes, you're going to get settling when it warms up again. "Expansive soil" means that the clay in the soil causes expansion when it freezes, and the expansion exerts pressure which can cause foundations to crack. That's why everybody has to spend so much money on steel-reinforced foundations around here. So, if the soil in the hole freezes and expands, and then you try to refill the hole and compact it, you still get settling when it thaws.

May not seem like a big deal to you, but the contractor who digs now and refills and repaves will have no further obligation to the developer after the job is done. The developer may be long gone before there's a problem. So, we get stuck with the pot holes and the repair cost, and it may take a couple of repairs before the soil is finally settled.

There are ways to work around all this, but they are expensive. Also, case-by-case exemptions could be allowed, but my experience teaches that some projects will always have problems that cause delays.

People who want to dig in the streets up here need to plan ahead. Or wait. Everybody else does it, and local builders plan around it just for the reasons already stated by me and everybody else in this thread.


outsiderlookingin 9 years, 5 months ago

ID thanks for the imput finally someone who can explain something in a level headed tone, without harrassment and sarcasism.


twostroketerror 9 years, 5 months ago

ids' comment was better written and explained more than the article. Thanks.


id04sp 9 years, 5 months ago

Thanks guys.

Newspaper reporters who don't know how to actually do anything themselves make poor journalists when it comes to issues like this. Experience is necessary to understand the details and explain them.

It's sorta like I harp on the need to learn math and science. You may not become experts, but a bit of knowledge can fill in enough gaps to help you look up how something is done and understand it. Heck, carpenters square up building layouts using the Pythagorean Theorem. The "3 4 5" rule says that if you use three measuring tapes and lay out a triangle 3 feet on one side, 4 feet on the second and 5 feet on the third, it will be perfectly square (3x3 + 4x4 = 9 + 16 = 25. 5x5 =25. The hypotenuse of a right triange is equal to the square root of the sum of the squares of the two adjacent sides . . . )

Most of the local zoning and building officials have always been willing to "bend" when no harm would be done, but they generally have their good reasons for saying "no."


steamboatsconscience 9 years, 5 months ago

now if we could only get the plow drivers to lift the blade when they pass driveways we wouldnt have to plow all the street snow they dump in the drive across the street.


justathought 9 years, 5 months ago

outsider, if you really want level headed explanations without the use of sarcasm why be such a smart a$$? Try reading your comment that started this conversation.

"Paul Draper is starting to distribute bright green warning fliers to those who plow snow from their driveway to the opposite side of the road" BUT when it comes to construction it's ""There are some enforcement issues that need to be investigated", there is something wrong with this picture.


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