The Operations department works year-round to maintain 1370 lane km road and 570 km of sidewalks throughout Barrie, to ensure safe and enjoyable transportation. This page contains information about curbs & sidewalks maintenance, potholes, and street sweeping.
Curbs & Sidewalks
Residents can help the City maintain curbs in several ways. Weeds and other plant growth can damage curbs. Residents are encouraged to remove weeds from joints and cracks in the curbs and gutters and help keep the area clean.
Every day, thousands of people use Barrie’s sidewalks to exercise, travel, or shop. Broken or damaged sidewalks are not only an eyesore and an inconvenience, they're also a safety hazard. The major causes of sidewalk damage are:
- uplifting by tree roots.
- vehicles (especially trucks) driving on the sidewalk.
- deterioration due to age.
Sidewalks can be kept safe by keeping:
- all vegetation from overgrowing sidewalks.
- tree limbs from obstructing sidewalks by making sure they are at least eight feet above sidewalks. See Street Tree Pruning Program
Annual Sidewalk Inspections
In Ontario, municipalities are required to inspect sidewalks annually according to the Minimum Maintenance Standard O. Reg 239/02. Inspections are performed during the summer, and usually take a few weeks to complete.
The City partnered with Top Hat Robotics to use their sidewalk inspection technology for annual inspections to detect sidewalk deficiencies. Starting in June 2021, sidewalk inspections are performed by a human using a robot as a secondary source of data on City sidewalks.
Please report damaged sidewalks to Service Barrie at (705) 726-4242 or ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca, or report a problem via the City's mobile app.
The City maintains approximately 1370 lane kilometres of road, and crews regularly patrol streets to identify potholes and other road deficiencies; but potholes can develop daily when temperatures begin to hover around zero degrees. The City does not repair potholes in driveways and private parking lots.
Potholes usually occur in the spring when frost develops and snow is melting, and usually develop on the side of the road. Residents are warned to be careful when going through puddles because they can hide potholes. By reporting potholes, you can help ensure that they are repaired in a timely manner.
All roads within the municipality are required to be maintained in accordance with the Provincial Minimum Maintenance Standards. The minimum maintenance standard sets out the maximum size (area) and depth that a pothole can be before a repair is required. It also sets out the amount of time that is allowed to pass before the repair must be completed and that varies based on the amount of traffic that occurs on that particular road. The standard ranges from 4 days for heavily travelled roads to 30 days for roads with lesser amounts of traffic.
- Water seeps into cracks in the pavement.
- The water builds up and softens the ground under the road.
- The water freezes and expands, which pushes the pavement up.
- When the water under the pavement dries, a hole is left beneath the road.
- The pavement is now weakened. As soon as a car drives over this area, the pavement collapses, leaving behind a pothole.
We can use your help in identifying locations that require attention so that they can be repaired in a timely manner. Pothole complaints are addressed on a priority and scheduling basis. To report a pothole, please provide location details via one of the following channels:
Crews often repair isolated potholes with “cold mix” which is a more pliable mix of asphalt that enables it to be shoveled and placed in the hole. This may appear messy compared to hot mix asphalt, but cold mix material does become more consolidated in a short period of time as traffic helps to compact it to the existing road surface.
Road Operations staff conduct the annual spring street sweeping program to clean all City streets of sand deposited during winter road maintenance, 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.
Spring street sweeping takes approximately 10 weeks to complete, weather-permitting. This webpage is updated throughout the spring program.
The schedule adheres to source water protection measures, which include optimization of road salt use and management and implementation of practices to minimize the loss of salt to the environment. Crews prioritize street sweeping in our vulnerable areas by sweeping the roadways in drinking water protection areas, then moving outward. See source water boundary.
Within the downtown Business Improvement Area, the streets are swept from approximately 3am–10am 7 days a week as long as possible into late fall each year.
Crews also sweep all City streets annually in the fall if the weather permits, in an effort to pick up as many leaves as possible before the weather turns too cold. Removing leaves from streets in the fall allows for a more efficient spring sweeping program and reduction of waste. It also reduces instances of blocked and frozen catch basins through the winter.
Reminders about spring street sweeping are issued via Twitter, Facebook, This Week in Barrie, mobile app and e-digest). To help us provide the best service possible during street sweeping operations each year, please:
- do not push sand or leaves into piles on the road as the sweeper cannot pick them up. Instead, please spread along the curb line to allow the equipment to collect it.
- minimize residential street parking during the spring sweeping program.
- ensure that basketball nets are not in the roadway.
If there are areas missed due to obstructions, operations staff will note and return at a later time. Concerns re missed areas can also be logged through Service Barrie Online or by contacting (705) 726-4242 or ServiceBarrie@barrie.ca.
Sweeping generally consists of a two-part process as follows:
- A mechanical sweeper capable of picking up heavy sand deposits and debris makes a pass of the street, and
- A second pass of the street with a vacuum sweeper to remove any fine material that may remain. This may take up to a few days later to occur
The sand that is collected from roads during the annual spring street sweeping program is typically disposed of at the landfill.
In 2016, staff investigated the possibility of recycling sand for winter maintenance. After a thorough screening of the sand collected from roads, staff found that it maintained municipal standards and was suitable for reuse on roads in winter. Recycling sand allows for a cost avoidance of almost half a million dollars and helps extend the life of the landfill. For more information please review the Recycled Street Sweepings Pilot Program presentation or watch the presentation to City Council on Rogers TV Barrie (begins at 40:00).
The Recycled Street Sweepings program is delayed until further notice until an adequate storage facility can be built. If stored improperly (i.e. outside) the sand becomes wet and clumpy, which clogs the sanders and won’t spread correctly. It needs to be kept dry and stored inside.
Leaves swept in the fall are relatively clean and brought to the landfill for composting. Leaves left over in the spring are too contaminated with sand and litter and cannot be composted so they are disposed of as waste.
Street Sweeping FAQs
Street sweeping usually starts in late April or early May and is usually completed within approximately 10 weeks, weather permitting.
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.
Sand that is deposited on the road during winter maintenance can sometimes be plowed onto driveways and adjacent to the curb. During spring street sweeping, residents can clear debris from this sand and sweep it to the curb for street sweepers to collect as they complete their rounds. Sand should NOT be swept into large piles, but rather spread along the curb line to allow the equipment to collect it. Sand should NOT be placed in yard waste or brought to the landfill for disposal.
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.
City street sweeping will commence by sweeping the roadways in the City’s drinking water protection areas, then move outward in zones. Please refer to this webpage for scheduled areas and updates.
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.
Unassumed 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 unassumed, 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.