Sweepers spiff up streets

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Monday, April 9, 2012
What it is: Street-sweeping season got under way at the end of March, and Janesville residents will spot the little vehicles tidying up streets now through leaf collection this fall.

Five cycles for residential streets are planned. Busier streets and the downtown will get a sixth sweep.

The first cycle should end about May 4. It takes about four weeks to sweep the entire city.

The first and last sweeping cycles usually are the heaviest, with the most debris to clean up, said John Whitcomb, city operations director. For example, crews in the spring might have lots of sand to sweep up from winter plowing, and in the fall gutters always are filled with leaves.

Why it's done: Street sweeping is part of the city's stormwater management program, Whitcomb said. The city's goal is to remove debris from the streets before it can enter the stormwater system, a requirement of permits issued by the state.

Sweeping also tends to inhibit weed growth in the gutter line, which slows cracking in the surrounding pavement, Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb noted the aesthetic plus, as well: sweeping just makes the city look nicer.

About $292,000 is budgeted this year for sweeping.

The money comes from the stormwater utility budget, which residents pay on their quarterly water bill.

The city has a fleet of four sweepers.

How it works: Sweepers have a large, main broom and a gutter broom that sweep material into a chute, or hopper. A watering system keeps down the dust. When the hoppers fill, workers empty them into dump trucks parked on the routes.

Sweeping in residential areas begins in the northwest portion of the city and moves through the city in a counter-clockwise direction, generally finishing in the northeast portion of the city. Staff ask that residents park off-street during street sweeping.

To learn more: Residents can go to the city's website at ci.janesville.wi.us/streetsweeping for more information and to see a map of the sweeping cycle. Or they can call the City Services Center at (608) 755-3110.

Last updated: 8:11 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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