06/19/14 — Goldsboro gets a new street sweeper

View Archive

Goldsboro gets a new street sweeper

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on June 19, 2014 1:46 PM

After months of problems with the city's two street sweepers -- the trucks have been out of service roughly two-thirds of last year -- it was time for a change, Public Works Director Jose Martinez said.

So Goldsboro officials leased a new machine with the intention of purchasing it in the coming fiscal year due to the high failure rates of its current fleet.

The sweeper costs $203,000, and the city will pay nearly $10,000 a month to lease it, with an option to buy.

"After looking into the different sweepers and looking around us to see what others were using, we landed on the Elgin," Martinez said. "The Schwarze we have, we were told to avoid that particular sweeper at all costs."

The Schwarze was, until recently, the city's newest sweeper -- the city's older Tempco has been down 65 percent of the time while the Schwarze has been off of the road for 68 percent of the time.

Sweepers go down for service often due to the nature of the work they do, Martinez said.

"It's picking up all that sand and dirt and pulling it up into it," he said. "It tears it down over time."

The high amount of sand in Goldsboro is one of the main problems with sweeping in this area.

The brushes on the sweeper kick up the dirt, sand and debris for the vacuum to pull up and deposit in the hopper until it can be dumped. Water runs along with the vacuum to reduce the damage the debris causes to the system.

The new sweeper has an automatic shut-off that will not run the vacuum if the water pump is not also running.

Linwood Battle has been sweeping streets for the city for 20 years and said that while the sweeper is nicer than the other two in the fleet, the real test will be how well it holds up over time.

"It's nice, but will it go," he said.

Battle said citizens often ask him when they will have their streets swept and hopefully now he can tell them sooner rather than later.

If both sweepers are up, the sweeping team can cover the city in less than two months, but with both sweepers down -- at times for an entire month -- work has fallen behind.

Battle hopes to be able to catch up now.

"People call and tell me their street hasn't been swept in 10 years," he said. "I just have to tell them we'll be in their area soon and that we have been having maintenance issues."

Battle hopes this won't be the case with the new sweeper.

The new sweeper, in addition to the extra safety it provides, also has a lifetime guarantee coating on the hopper, air powered brushes with variable pressure for hard scrubbing as well as being easier to maintain.

"It used to take my guys four or five solid hours to change out the heads on these sweepers," Martinez said. "On the Elgin, they can do it in 30 minutes. It's just the way it's designed."

In the new fiscal year, the city will begin paying the purchase price on the sweeper.

The city will continue to operate both of its existing sweepers along with the Elgin.

The Elgin and the Tempco will make up the main fleet with the Schwarze in reserve.