Watch out for no-parking signs in Red Deer neighbourhoods as road crews conduct their annual spring sweep.
The sand that helps vehicles gain traction during icy winter months does the opposite when roads are dry, hindering adherence to pavement at this time of year, says Red Deer public works manager Greg Sikora.
To prevent motorcycle and bike wipe-outs, and to keep the city’s stormwater system free of grit, city crews have started their annual sand clearing ritual.
The City of Red Deer’s three road sweeping vehicles, as well as six contracted sweepers, have already begun clearing arterial roadways, such as Gaetz Avenue and 67th Street.
Up to 14,000 tonnes of sand is expected to be picked up, said Sikora. Crews made up of about 20 workers will be sweeping from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays.
Once arterial roads are completed, work will start on collector and residential routes. Weather permitting, this should begin on about April 27, added Sikora.
No-parking sandwich boards will be put in place beforehand to warn residents when to take their vehicles off the road.
Sikora said neighbourhoods will be swept according to this year’s snow clearing schedule, with zones G to K being done in order first, then zones A to F.
The picked up sand will be carried by support trucks to a contractor, who will use large-scale multi-screen sifting equipment and magnets to remove metal, broken glass and other debris.
About 9,000 tonnes of cleaned-up sand is expected to be returned to the city’s public works department for re-use on city roads next winter.
Sikora said the cost of this sand recycling is worth it, since contaminated sand used to have to be dumped in the city landfill each spring.
Since the bulk of the winter road sand can now be reused, the city is prolonging the life of the landfill and saving money over the long term by not having to create expanded landfill space, he added.
“It postpones the need for further landfill development.”
He expects the spring street sweep will be completed by the Victoria Day weekend.