May 25th, 2024

City to start cleaning streets

By Lethbridge Herald on April 9, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Street sweepers demonstrate how the roads get cleaned during a media event Tuesday along Rocky Mountain Blvd. West.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

It’s that time of the year again where the aftermath of winter gets taken off the roads by street sweepers and residents are reminded to remove their vehicles from the roads. 

Juliane Ruck, City of Lethbridge Transportation Operations manager said Tuesday they will have three to four sweepers out in residential areas at a time. 

“As everybody remembers we had a lot of significant snow events here in January, February and March, applied a lot of sand and salt and the sweepers are coming out to clean that all up,” said Ruck. 

She said residents can help by sweeping any natural debris such as sand, twigs or leaves  they find on the sidewalk into the gutter for the sweepers to pick up. 

Ruck added that they should not be sweeping garbage into the gutter because that will contaminate the sweepers and cause delays. 

“We’re also asking residents not to park in the areas where we sweep because then our sweepers can move way closer to the curb and move around way better and really get all the debris,” said Ruck. 

She said there will be $50 parking tickets issued  if vehicles are not removed from sweeping areas after signage has been posted. 

“No parking’ signs will be placed on the street 24 hours before sweeping begins and residents are asked to move their vehicles by 7:30 a.m. the following day. Neighbourhood street sweeping is completed on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Parking can resume after 3:30 p.m. each day, but signs will remain in place if sweepers need to return to the area when the sweeping is complete. All residential roadways are estimated to be completed in approximately eight to 10 weeks depending on weather and operational considerations.

“We have 580 kilometres of road network in the city and we are sweeping the residential roads during the day. 

“We have a big night sweeping program that we’ll use on the busier roads starting next Sunday night,” said Ruck. 

Night sweeping will be done for approximately six to eight weeks between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday to Thursday to avoid impacting traffic during busy daytime hours around arterial roads, downtown and the industrial area.   

When talking about the reason for sweeping the streets, Ruck said it was to protect the Oldman River among other things. 

“We are cleaning up sand and salt from winter applications, also leaves and sticks and all that kind of thing to protect the stormwater system from those things and getting into the Oldman River,” said Ruck. 

Heather Gowland, community coordinator for Transportation and Communications, said many residents look forward to street sweeping day. 

“Because it freshens up all the streets, reduces dust and reduces debris around the neighbourhoods,” said Gowland. 

Collected sand from winter ice control is reconditioned and reused in the following year’s sanding operations and residual waste material is disposed of in the landfill.

Gowland said it is important for residents to be aware when street sweeping is taking place to avoid tickets and to help sweepers do their job. 

“We have a few tools online that you can use. Probably the best one to get on board with is the Lethbridge Loop app where you can get notifications about your waste collection, snow routes, planned power outages, but also you can get notifications and see the calendar for street sweeping,” said Gowland. 

She said residents can sign up for notifications to find out if there are any changes to the sweeping schedule as it could change for different reasons. 

“Our schedule changes sometimes due to weather, or due to operational delays, or other things going on around the city, so it’s really important to find out if there has been any postpones or delays,” said Gowland. 

Where street sweeping begins rotates each year and for 2024 they are starting on the west side of the city followed by north and south areas; however, sweepers may have to alternate zones to avoid waste collection and sweeping is done weather permitting. 

Among other tools that residents can use to find out when street sweeping is taking place in their area, there is also an online tracker, said Ruck. 

“We also have an online sweeper AVL tracker. Residents can see which areas are completed or where the sweepers are today,” said Ruck. 

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