Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Riders Rejoice: DelDOT's New Sweeping Plan Favors Hot Spots

On August 21, 2012, advocates from the Delaware Bicycle Council, Sussex Cyclists, and the White Clay Bicycle Club met with DelDOT's Maintenance and Operations Division. During this enthusiastic exchange, our concerns were genuinely considered. Both sides agreed that the proposal to concentrate more sweeping in areas of greater reflection (curb/barrier zones, bridges, etc) will result in more efficiency, safety, and productivity. A draft listing and map of chronic debris "hot spots" was presented, and M&O promised to consider our requests for additional sweeping in these areas.

Now, 2 years later, they have. In an all new Storm Water Management Plan submitted to DNREC on August 1, there is a much more “targeted” approach taking shape. Emphasis is now placed on roads that have direct connections to Delaware's storm sewer system, in areas that have the greatest potential to produce harmful pollutants. These include high traffic, commercial, industrial, and residential areas. Each of these road types is swept at a frequency that maximizes DelDOT resources (manpower, equipment, budget) while meeting the terms of the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. This is to effectively prohibit the discharge of material other than stormwater.

Randy Cole, DelDOT's Environmental Program Manager, had this to say:

"[Advocates] identified “hotspot” road sections where there is a frequent collection of debris in the road shoulder. DelDOT reviewed these and developed a strategy to incorporate them within our sweeping plan. Because these road sections fall under different roadway categories, sweeping frequency will vary, but all will be swept at a frequency greater than our past plan. Once the sweeping plan has been approved by DNREC and EPA, we’ll know the exact frequency for each road."

Advocates and Representatives were also given a detailed overview in the process of debris sweeping and collection. The debris swept is subject to Federal regulations, a permit process, and careful inspection and disposal as hazardous material. During operation, the sweeper must also be accompanied by two other vehicles for safety and protection.

So a big round of kudos to the organizations who came together, and pressed the issue at just the right time. We sincerely thank the leadership team at DelDOT Maintenance and Operations for hearing our concerns, and seeing the need. Let's raise a toast to cleaner shoulders, and longer lasting bicycle tires and tubes!

View NCC Sweeping Hot Spots in a larger map

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