By Jesse Wood
May 30, 2014. You may have noticed the Town of Boone’s street sweeper on the main roads – U.S. 321, U.S. 421, N.C. 194 and N.C. 105 – lately.
Part of the spring cleanup, the street sweeper has recently been cleaning up the abrasives, slag and small gravel that was used as a traction aid for snow maintenance during the winter months. For several years, Gustaveson said that the mode of operation was to initiate the spring cleanup and then sweep as needed along the major highways. The town’s street sweeping program also includes cleaning the downtown streets three mornings a week with the street sweeper and worker with a backpack blower.
The Town of Boone has 15 miles of curb and gutter that is swept, and interim Public Works Director Eric Gustaveson said that preventing debris from entering rivers via the storm water system and maintaining the streets so that vehicles are not driving over debris is all part of a “good street maintenance program.”
Gustaveson added that the street maintenance program focuses on keeping the bike lanes clear, too.
Gustaveson mentioned that the town is behind on its street cleaning this spring because its street sweeper is being refurbished. The town is utilizing a demo sweeper from the factory that isn’t as thorough as its usual street sweeper that captures both fine particles to ensure clean air and heavy solids to ensure clean water. While the sweeper is still in the factory shop, it should be ready to go soon as most of the refurbishment has occurred.
Gustaveson said that refurbishment will cost about $147,000 plus shipping. A new sweeper goes for $300,000. The sweeper that is being refurbished is 10 years old. While the truck, cab and chassis of the street sweeper “are not in bad shape,” the moving parts of the actually street sweeper – the wear points of the conveyor belt, hydraulics and so forth – need to be replaced.
The mechanical street sweeper has two side brooms and a rear broom. The debris is kicked to the rear broom, which kicks it to the conveyor belt that motions it to the hopper or collection bin, Gustaveson said.
“The street sweeper has more moving parts than any piece of equipment we have,” Gustaveson said.