In an effort to protect its designated haul routes, the Lethbridge County will be placing road bans on the routes this coming spring.
In a report to county council last Thursday Kevin Viergutz, director of municipal services, reviewed some of the feedback the county has received on the haul route designations.
The project to designated specific roads in the county for heavy hauling was initiated in 2012. The plan was to upgrade these route to better handle the heavier loads, while protecting the county’s infrastructure.
Viergutz said as part of a public awareness campaign, maps of the haul routes were delivered to road users and feedback was sought from users. In all 86 maps were delivered to 67 intensive livestock operations, eight Hutterite colonies, six gravel crushing/hauling companies, two corral cleaning companies and three trucking companies.
“We’ll make sure we advertise a few weeks ahead,” Viergutz said of the spring road bans on the haul routes.
“The haul routes will be banned in the spring and producers should plan for that.”
He said down the road the county will be directing funding to the upgrade and maintenance of the haul routes but he noted, “they are still gravel roads.”
Coun. Morris Zeinstra noted as the haul routes are improved there may come a time when the county won’t have to ban them in the spring.
Viergutz also reported to council on concerns from some residents along the haul routes. He said some have reported an increase in traffic and have questioned if the county will be providing dust suppression.
He said a traffic count was conducted on the routes to determine if there had been an increase in traffic following the designation as haul routes.
“What we’re finding is traffic counts haven’t increased since signs went up.”
With the road designation, Viergutz said there is a perception that traffic has increased but the counts don’t show that to be the case.
Coun. Steve Campbell said timing of the counts might also be impacting the numbers.
Coun. John Willms also noted traffic counts are not always reliable depending on when the counts were taken and when the roads are busy for seasonal hauling such as silage harvest.
Viergutz said that is one of the reasons why the county has purchased a laser counter and will be using it on the haul routes in the future. He also noted a second laser counter has been requested to be included in the county’s 2014 budget.
Coun. Zeinstra said most of the comments he has been hearing from residents indicate support for the haul route but the two major questions he gets are, what is the county doing to maintain these routes and what are they going to do for dust control.