Northern News Services
The Town of Inuvik recently purchased a new street sweeper which, says operator Harold Miller, handles like a dream.
"It works great," he said. "It's very easy to operate."
The machine cost the town $170,000 but Miller said it's worth every penny.
"It's well worth the money, because not only is it going to clean the streets, it's going to keep a lot of crap out of the ditches," he said.
"One of my other jobs is cleaning culverts, so I know what a mess the ditches are in."
The Husky street sweeper has a GMC body, a 290 cubic-inch turbo diesel engine with a Kubota four- cylinder, 40-hp diesel engine that operates the brushes and conveyor belt.
The gravel is swept up onto the conveyor and contained in a belly dump hopper that can hold four cubic metres or 4,000 lbs. of gravel. Miller said the gravel can be reused.
"A lot of it we are trying to recycle," he said. "It is good rock. It's just the stuff we put on the roads in the winter time."
Some of the gravel has been used as fill at various locations around town as fill in low spots on the road or construction sites.
"Basically any place you can use second-grade gravel," Miller said.
The previous street sweeper would just scrub the gravel off the road and into the ditch, Miller said, and often the rock would block culverts and the flow of run-off.
"It will save the town money cleaning the ditches and sewers out and they are recycling a lot of the gravel too," he said. "It's a win-win situation."
Supervisor Rick Campbell took training course on the sweeper and trained Miller on how to operate the machine.
The truck is all operated from the comfort of an air-conditioned cab.
"It's nice because I don't have to have a window open," he said.
While the brooms are sweeping there are water jets spraying at different locations around the vehicle, which helps keep the dust down.
There is a 45-gallon water tank aboard to feed the four sprayers. The sweeper's side brushes are steel and the main roller brush on the back is nylon.
Since he started, Miller has cleaned about one-third of the streets. He says some take a lot more time than others.
"It was really deep up by Stringer and Semmler Crescent, so I had to go slow, but it picked it all up really well," he said.
The truck has a video camera and monitor so Miller can view the curb side of the vehicle without watching in the mirror.
"It allows me to look at the side of the truck without always looking in the mirror," he said.
"If I'm staring in the mirror all the time and someone jumped out in front of me, I'd never notice."
Miller said the new truck is drawing a few stares.