Lethbridge County Public Works Department carries out activities to address its responsibility pertaining to the Municipal Government Act - Part 13 - Division 1 Chapter 532(1) and 532(2):
532 (1) Every road or other public place that is subject to the direction, control and management of the municipality, including all public works in, on or above the roads or public place put there by the municipality or by any other person with their permission of the municipality, must be kept in a reasonable state of repair by the municipality, having regard to:
a) the character of the road, public place or public work, and
b) the area of the municipality in which it is located.
(2) The municipality is liable for damage caused by the municipality failing to perform its duty under subsection (1).
In order to provide a year round safe and reliable County transportation system for various users and uses, the following activities are categorized and identified.
1. Road Grading
Gravel Road Grading Maintenance is the single largest component of the County operations budget. There is a fleet of 7 motor graders utilized to maintain approximately 1,700 km. of gravel roads throughout the County. Each motor grader has a scheduled weekly route to cover the roads required on a priority basis. It is also proposed to continue with some additional work for intersection washboard control. Motor graders will respond to county resident requests for custom work at rates established by the County Fleet Services Division. Motor graders are also called upon by the ASB for different projects under their program.
There is work done on an annual basis to improve the road ditches and backslopes on old elevator graded roads. This work normally improves the drainage and safety as well as reducing the snow catching hazard.
1b. Gravel Retrieving / Shoulder Conditioning
During the process of maintenance grading there is often an “ear” on either side of the roadway which contains a significant amount of gravel as well as prevents water from running off the road into the ditch. This program undertakes the removal of this ridge at critical locations throughout the County.
1c. Roadtop Roundup
Roads which are less travelled require few grading passes in a year. There is a tendency for grass to encroach onto the shoulders (side travel surface) of these roads. This program is utilized to control this encroachment by chemically treating the shoulders which removes the vegetative growth and keeps the road top clean without necessitating grading passes to control vegetation.
2. Road Gravelling
Lethbridge County Gravel Program is second only to the gravel road grading activity in terms of cost, manpower, time and planning. Commencing in late May and through to the month of October. County gravel trucks haul gravel material that is applied on County local roads in order to maintain them in a safe condition for the travelling needs of the general public.
3. Oiled / Paved Road Regular Maintenance
The County's secondary and local paved roads suffer from wear and develop pot holes due to use and weather conditions. There are also a number of Hamlets and Subdivision for which the County is responsible for ongoing maintenance of existing roads. In order to maintain safe roads for the travelling needs of the general public, the County's Oiling Crew repairs these problems on an emergency basis during the winter months, and through a preventative program in the summer months. Hot and cold mix asphalt oils are the predominant materials utilized.
4. Preservation of Local Paved Road Infrastructure
In order to extend the life and improve the safety of existing paved surfaces, it has been found that chip sealing can improve the traction characteristics and rejuvenate the existing asphalt. This process will also extend the life of ASBC roads which are still in relatively good condition. The program proposed is intended to extend the life of existing paved roads and delay the need for an overlay by an estimated 5-7 years.
5. Farm Oiling
As the demand for oiling, to prevent dust, becomes greater the County provides a service to its residents whereby they can purchase oiling material at a fixed fee under County Policy. This material is laid down by a County crew and equipment, in accordance with that policy, to remedy the dust complaint.
6. Crack Filling
The County has undertaken a Hot Pour crack filling program with an anticipated return cycle of 5-7 years.
7. Snow Plowing - Gravel Roads
Nine motor graders are provided to plow roads in their respective areas on a priority basis.
8. Plowing, Sanding, Winter Ice Control - Paved Roads
Sand is stockpiled at the Picture Butte and Coaldale Shop sites and salt is mixed into this material to prevent the sand from freezing in the sanders and to melt ice on roads after it has been broadcast. Sand trucks are sent out as soon as practicable during a snow storm with priority roads and areas being plowed and sanded first.
There is a full-time employee involved in ensuring that the maintenance of signs is kept at a high standard in order to avoid the possibility of litigation. Effective sign management ensures that all necessary signs for road construction projects are erected.
10. Spot Road Repair
Weather conditions and traffic cause gravel roads to fail for different reasons at different locations. The County is responsible to repair frost boils, bridge washouts, sloughing and remedial gravelling in order to keep roads in a safe condition. The County maintains a fleet of gravel trucks and trailers along with the necessary staff to meet these needs on a priority basis.11. General Culvert
Culverts age, silt in, collapse or become too short due to circumstances and subsequently require replacement or lengthening. The County inspects and reviews the road system on a continuing basis and undertakes culvert installation and repair as needed.
12. Drain Maintenance
Lethbridge County is responsible for the maintenance of roadside drainage within its boundaries. The County excavator is allocated approximately 900 hours per year to the activity of clean outs and regrading which is required to keep the drains operating properly.
13. Bridge Inspections
In the winter months the County has employees who inspect bridges. Any defaults which are found are reported and remedial action recommended. The required repairs are implemented by the County with funding assistance provided by Alberta Infrastructure.
14. Line Painting
Paved local roads require centre and shoulder lines which must be repainted on a frequent basis to maintain safety.
15. Dust Control Gravel Operation Haul Roads
Dust complaints have been numerous from citizens adjacent to and/or users of gravel pit haul roads. It is proposed to continue dust control measures on these roads on an as required basis.
16. Hamlet Cleanup Garbage and Yard Waste
Residents may haul materials to any of the Lethbridge Regional Waste Management transfer sites throughout the year.
17. Roadside Garbage Cleanup
There are individuals who on occasion will dump deleterious materials in the County Right-of-ways. County staff and equipment is used to clean up this material. If the perpetrator can be identified, the work is charged back and fines are issued as applicable.
18. Environmental Reclamation Fund
The County has operated and operates a number of facilities which are subject to environmental hazards. We have on occasion been directed by Alberta Environment to clean up certain sites. This fund is intended to provide a buffer for future clean up orders if any are issued.
19. Traffic Counting
In conjunction with the Federal STEP Program, a summer student is hired to count vehicles on heavily utilized roads in order to compile and recognize traffic patterns. This work is done to meet requirements of Alberta Infrastructure for road traffic counts as well as to assist the County in establishing construction priorities.