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Colorado Springs drivers complain of slow response by snow removal crews Friday; ice blamed

Many drivers were frustrated with morning rush hour Friday, believing that Colorado Springs-area street and road crews didn't respond quickly and effectively enough.

Some drivers arrived late to work, or failed to make it in at all, because of slick conditions that led to crashes and slide-offs, or forced people to pull over and abandon their vehicles.

One trouble spot was on Baptist Road at the Interstate 25 interchange, where semitrailers were forced to wait behind an 18-wheeler stuck on a hill in several inches of ice.

"We tried chains, ice melt, sand, everything," the driver said. "Nothing worked. We had to call back to the home office for help."

Nearby, a car crashed head-on into a guardrail at the southbound I-25 exit to Baptist Road. The driver wasn't hurt. It was unclear whether the driver lost control on an icy spot, or was forced to crash by another driver.

Road and street crew supervisors In Colorado Springs and El Paso County said their response to the storm was slowed by ice, making plowing more difficult as snow began to accumulate.

"We got rain first, and then that froze into black ice," said Troy Wiitala, of the county's public works department. "The timing of it wasn't good but there wasn't anything we could do about it. We just tried to clear the roads as soon as we could. We hope people understand that weather conditions can affect what we do."

Wiitala said rain and ice before snow fell may have lessened the effectiveness of salt brine, which the county began applying as a pre-treatment to roads the day before a storm.

"The good thing is the weather will warm into the 50s this weekend and that will take care of most of the snow," he said.

Wiitala also said crews are still seeing too many drivers who don't give plows enough room.

"Speeding, following too closely, they all contributed to the problems we had Friday," he said.

A pickup truck nearly collided with two plows in front of a KRDO NewsChannel 13 crew on North Gate Boulevard before the truck passed the plow.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. “Colorado Springs drivers complain of slow response by snow removal crews Friday”
    After every snow storm, there are those who will always complain about the roads not being cleared sooner. Anyone who has lived here for any significant time knows that it takes time to get the roads cleared. Just be patient, and it will all go away one way or another. It always has done in the past… 🙄

  2. I got a great idea the city can buy 2000 more Plows and hire the drivers for them and these complainer can pay for it. What do they say before every storm allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. Yes I am aware that a 4×4 can go 70 MPH in the snow but you can not stop any faster on the ice and you flip over just as fast as a 2 wheel drive car. When I was working in the Denver area a lot of the time I had to drive on unplowed roads. Even got stuck in the company car about a 1/4 mile from my base and had to walk to the building. That was at about 2 in the morning because the plows had not gotten to the area. The amazing thing was the phone calls we were getting complaining about installers not making it to their appointments! Got 6″ of snow almost every city was saying “we are shut down do not drive or attempt to drive”. But an 8 hour shift turned into 22.5 hours!

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