Each spring, the City of Lethbridge takes on the task of street sweeping to clear rocks, sand and debris from approximately 550 kilometres of road within the city.
Darwin Juell, the city’s transportation manager, says there will be some changes in this year’s program due to funding cuts and COVID-19.
“We have a significant budget reduction in our street-sweeping program… approximately $280,000 is reduced, that’s 18 per cent of our total budget,” Juell explained.
“Right now we have five street sweepers, four regular sweepers and one’s considered a spare.”
The neighbourhood street-sweeping program will begin in the Paradise Canyon area on April 12, moving through the rest of west Lethbridge, then onto the north side and finishing in south Lethbridge in June.
The purpose of street sweeping is to prevent the aforementioned materials from washing into the Oldman River, and to make communities safer for activities such as walking and cycling.
Due to COVID-19, no paper door handle reminders will be given out this year, but signage will be placed in neighbourhoods the day prior to sweeping.
Residents can also subscribe to a street sweeping notification through the city’s webpage once it’s up-and-running.
Last spring, the city decided to not to issue tickets for failing to move parked vehicles — something they’re continuing this year.
“Because of the pandemic, we just thought it’s not appropriate to be ticketing vehicles, and people are starting to listen and respect that signage.”
However, Juell added street sweeping is made quite difficult if the machines can’t access the sides of the road.
“The curb line of the road is where most of this material sits — exactly where your car sits,” he explained. “It eliminates the opportunity for us to clean that street, and because we don’t have the budget or the resources to come back, that material will sit there.
“We’re asking people, please respect the signage and the notifications because we’re not coming back.”
Roads without on-street parking and those in industrial areas will be swept at night to avoid traffic interruptions.
Sand collected during the program is washed and reconditioned for use in the next year’s sanding operations, with residual waste sent to the landfill.