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Street Sweeping

Road Operations conduct the Annual Spring Street Sweeping Program to clean all City streets of sand deposited during winter control, and other debris.

Spring street sweeping improves water quality and the environment by removing pollutants that can be transferred to downstream water bodies through urban runoff through the storm sewer system. The Street Sweeping Program also improves the cleanliness and aesthetics of City streets and parking lots.


Sweeping usually starts in end of April / early May and takes approximately 10 weeks to complete, weather permitting. Arterial roads are swept first followed by residential streets. 

The schedule adheres to the City's Source Water Protection plan, which requires optimization of the use and management of road salt, and implementation of practices to minimize the loss of salt to the environment. Crews therefore prioritize street sweeping in our vulnerable areas by sweeping the roadways near the lake, the City’s drinking water protection areas, then moving outward. See source water boundary.

Crews generally sweep during the day, Monday–Friday (approximately  7:30am–3:30pm). Within the downtown Business Improvement Area, the streets are swept from approximately 3–10am, 7 days a week.

Process & Disposal

Sweeping consists of a 2-part process as follows:

  1. A mechanical sweeper capable of picking up heavy sand deposits and debris makes a pass of the street, and
  2. (this could be a few days later) A second pass of the street with a vacuum sweeper to remove any fine material that may remain

Sand that is swept from roads is disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner at the landfill site where it is used for covering waste.

How You Can Help

To help us provide the best service possible, please do not push sand into piles on the road as the sweeper cannot pick them up. When possible, please minimize residential street parking during this process to ensure best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my street be swept?
Street sweeping usually starts mid-May until mid-July (any updates will be posted above on this webpage) and is usually expected to be completed within the approximate 10 weeks, weather permitting.  
There was a car parked in front of my residence. Will the City of Barrie come back and sweep this area?

The City asks resident to minimize residential street parking, when possible, during this process to ensure best results. City staff will note such obstructions and will return at a later time, but also asks residents to call or email Service Barrie (705-726-4242 or if there was a vehicle parked in front of their house when the sweeper came down their street. Crews make every effort to return the next day and have that area swept.

Note: Crews generally sweep during the day, Monday–Friday (approximately  7:30am–3:30pm). Within the downtown Business Improvement Area, the streets are swept from approximately 3–10am, 7 days a week.

The sweepers left a pile of sand that I swept up on the road. Why?
Sweepers are designed to sweep only normal build up of sand on the curb edge. Any sand that is swept into a pile by the resident cannot be swept up by the sweeper, as this machine is not capable of doing so. Please leave sand in its normal state, as the sweepers can make the most production out of this.
Where do the sweepers start each year and how is this determined?
City street sweeping will commence by sweeping the roadways near the lake, the City’s drinking water protection areas, then move outward in zones.
The sweeper went by and I’ve been left with a bigger mess than before. Why?
Sometimes the actual sweeping process is a two part process. The first sweeper that goes by is designed to pick up the bulk of the sand. Following that, another sweeper will pick up the finer sand and do a cleanup pass.

Another reason could be a result of rain. If the roads become too wet the sand tends to get spread around, appearing to be messy. The City will not sweep in the rain for this very reason, but if the City is commencing sweeping and it starts to rain, the sweeper will come back and re-sweep the area.
My street was not swept. Why?
Un-assumed streets within the City of Barrie are not swept by City of Barrie forces; they are the responsibility of the Developer. If your area is un-assumed, please call your Developer regarding the condition of your street. Also, streets that are under guaranteed maintenance through the Developer are not swept. Again, please contact the Developer of your area.
Why not store the collected sand to be spread around next year?
The sand that crews put down has "edges" and assists in providing traction. The sand loses its edges after it has been applied and actually becomes round and smooth, which does not promote traction.

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