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Spring sweep cleans up Kelowna's streets

A street sweeper works in traffic along Clement Avenue in Kelowna
March 24, 2016 - 4:30 PM


KELOWNA - Over the next month, City of Kelowna roads maintenance crews will pick up 116 dumptruck loads of the custom-ordered sand they leave behind fighting winter’s icy streets.

Roadways supervisor Stephen Bryan says the city will spend about $475,000 this year on the spring sweep, hitting just about every metre of Kelowna’s 1,600 kilometres of roads.

Despite the milder-than-average winter in Kelowna, his crews dropped a bit more sand than average.

“There were a lot more snow events. You get a bit of snow overnight, doesn’t matter if it melts off by the afternoon, you have to deal with it first thing in the morning,” Bryans says.

That translates into four to six weeks work chugging along at about three kilometres an hour, for people like Marty Pearce, who pilots one of the city’s three street sweepers.

During winter, he also runs one of the city’s snow plows, so he sees it coming and going.

“Whatever you put down, you have to pick up. We get almost all of it back,” he says.

The city rents four more sweepers for the spring sweep, with crews starting a 4 a.m. and following a similar pattern as for snow removal, prioritizing arterial and collector roads over residential.

As during winter, the biggest problem Pearce and the other operators will encounter is parked cars, despite signs advising of their presence in the neighbourhood.

Residents tend not to get as excited about street sweeping, although Pearce says the city’s cyclists are on them with calls for service just about as soon as the snow melts.

“We hear about it pretty quick, although there’s not the same level of panic,” he adds. “It’s not as bad as with the snow, you can still get out of your driveway if the street’s dirty.”

Pearce advises residents stay away from the temporary dirt piles around the city where the sweepers drop their loads, before it is trucked to the Glenmore landfill.

“You have no idea what’s in there, it could be totally contaminated.”

All Bryans wants is for residents to heed the street-sweeping advisory signs in their neighbourhoods and pull things like hockey nets and basketball hoops off the road.

“Just like with snow, it makes it tough to sweep properly,” he adds.



To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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