By Randy Cole
Maintenance and Operations Division
Delaware Department of Transportation
DelDOT’s Division of Maintenance and Operations is responsible for maintaining over 13,000 miles of highways (not to mention over 1,500 bridges, 95 buildings and 1 ferry!). We have a formidable job. Maintaining this road system is a complicated logistical challenge and one that strains our resources every day. We are constantly looking for ways to do more with less.
Street sweeping is one of the many ways DelDOT works to improve highway aesthetics and water quality. We are in the process of developing sweeping strategies that will be most effective from a pollutant removal, as well as financial and logistic standpoint. There are many factors to consider as we work to improve this program. Some of these challenges are:
1) Sweepers may need to be reallocated to different areas of the state, but the personnel that operate them may not;
2) We must not “backslide” in terms of the level of effort used in our current sweeping program of “4:2:1” (4 times per year on interstates, 2 times per year on collector and arterial roads, and once a year on local/subdivision roads);
3) We need to have a targeted approach (sweep roadways that have the most pollutants), while reducing sweeping or eliminating sweeping on roadways that have minimal pollutants that also have some other method of pollutant removal (i.e. non-curbed with roadside grassed swales, Adopt-a-Highway program, prison crew clean up, “Imagine a Litter Free Day” clean up program).
When considering the needs of cyclists, we are looking at ways to move away from the traditional reactive approach to responding to complaints as they occur throughout the year – and adopting a proactive approach that will get out in front of these complaints. One of the ways we are doing this is by working with Bike Delaware and the Delaware Bicycle Council to identify a list of “hot spots”, primarily places where there is a high collection of debris in road shoulders. We are considering ways that we can factor in these ‘hot spots’ into our proposed sweeping schedule to better serve the needs of cyclists and simultaneously maximize limited resources in the most effective way. Our goal is to achieve a sweeping program that assists cyclists while meeting our other road maintenance goals.
We have more work to do, but in the meantime you can contact us at www.deldot.gov or call (302) 760-2080 with requests for sweeping. We appreciate the efforts of cyclists to work constructively with us and appreciate your patience as we strive to improve our service. We look forward to continuing to work together as we make improvements to the sweeping program in the upcoming year.
• Bike Delaware Archive Category: MAINTENANCE