Dec 20, 2011 8:06 PM by Andy Koen
In about a week the City of Colorado Springs will being using private contractors to clear the streets in neighborhoods on the north side. As part of a test program, the city has awarded a contract to the company Landscape Assist to clear the streets in the North Gate area between Old Ranch Road and North Gate Boulevard.
City streets manager Allen Peterson says the north side was chosen primarily because it gets more snowfall. He adds that they opted to switch from Briargate because North Gate represents a more even comparison.
"Some of the other grids, we thought would not give us a fair comparison," Peterson said.
The city and the contractor will be compared on a cost per hour basis. Peterson points out that the city's main sand and storage facility is located in Briargate and that proximity would skew the cost in favor of the city. He says Rockrimmon was also ruled out but the steep grades and tight curves in the roads might skew the cost against Landscape Assist.
"What we're trying to do is get a fair, apples to apples comparison to find out what it costs to plow snow."
Neighbors in North Bate seem to be receptive to the plan. Steve Moore says expects the contractors to do as good of a job or better than the city because they can to focus their time and energy on one specific area rather than worrying about the whole city.
"I think you get a better job than the primary company doing it," Moore said.
Dennis Mesward thinks the city can use the help because clearing all of the paved area in town is a daunting task for any agency.
"You think about the job of every little city street in this town, there's a lot," Mesward said.
Peterson says an independent group will be brought in to compare the quality of service provided by the contractors with that of the city. To keep the comparison even, Landscape Assist has been asked follow the same procedures used by the city: plow the primary routes first, secondary streets next and residential areas last only if there is more than 6 inches of snow on the ground.
Although they have been awarded the bid, some of the paperwork still needs to be signed before the contractors begin work. City administrators say that should be sometime next week. A public copy is not yet available.