Colorado Public Works Journal, Summer 2022

14| ColoradoPublic Works Journal Snow Day Jeff Goble, Public Works Director Town of Frisco As the Public Works Director for the Town of Frisco, CO, Jeff Goble knows a thing or two about snow removal. Located in the heart of ski-country, Frisco sees anywhere from 150 to 200 inches of snow annually, with the heaviest dumps coming in March and April. While the volume is great for the local economy and Colorado’s watershed, for Goble and a dedicated crew, the effort to keep the streets, bridges, and sidewalks around town clear is extensive. “Frisco has approximately 35 lane miles of roads and paths that we plow throughout the winter and early spring,” says Goble. “We employ between 10 and 12 operators, whose sole duty is snow removal. We do it with a variety of equipment including four front-end loaders, two large plow trucks with sander boxes on the back, and small plows for sidewalks and paths.” Goble points out that the part of snow removal the public sees is plowing to clear roads, but in the case of Frisco and many of Colorado’s mountain communities, the snow does not simply go away. Once it’s pushed off the sidewalks and roads, the Town is challenged to find creative ways to store the snow while it melts, which can take months. “The snow is contaminated with oil and greases, so we can’t just push it into the reservoir,” says Goble. “We have to be very creative about where we put it. We have a series of short-term storage areas where we collect it. Then we have a mid-term area where snow is put after big storms, and finally, we’ve got a huge open field, where everything that remains eventually goes to melt. As we lose more Town-owned properties, our options become more constrained. Currently, we’re considering adding a snow melt machine to the works.” Having inherited his responsibilities from a long-standing team of public servants, Goble shares that many years of process refinement prior by his predecessors set him up for success. On Main Street, for example, the process calls for running the sidewalk machines first to get that snow in the street, then pushing both sides of the street to the center. The six-foot high strip running the length of Main Street is then blown into the back of a haul truck as it drives the length of the pile. “I was fortunate to come into a position where the people before me had established a great system,” says Goble. “I was the benefactor of a lot of trial and error by others.” During the winter months, Goble’s entire crew works around the clock on either of two shifts per day. The same crew stays on full time during the summer and fall, working in either the Town’s parks and outdoor spaces or on roadway or building maintenance. Goble believes cultivating his employees’ commitment to public service through his commitment to them is his most important job. “What I try to do every day is make sure the people working for Public Works are happy, healthy, and enjoy what they do for the Town,” says Goble. By Sean O’Keefe A state of many varied climates, Colorado averages 67.30 inches of snow a year. While Denver and much of the Front range receive less than 60 inches of snow annually, mountain communities get three times as much, and the western slope, well sometimes hardly any. A little or a lot, as a matter of public safety, snow must not be allowed to remain on roads and bridges for long. Here we consider the task of snow removal and the challenges thereof with three proven public servants who make customer service the centerpiece of success. The scoop on snow removal across Colorado from those in the know.