Ask The Advocate: Curious about street sweepers? _lowres

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- A worker with the Department of Public Works steers his street sweeper down Spanish Town Road in front of the Louisiana State Capitol as crews come together to clean up the parade route on Feb. 15, 2015, following the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade.

Our column today is devoted to street sweepers. We promise to keep it clean.

How often does the city run street cleaners? The litter that lines the streets and gutters of the streets in Baton Rouge are embarrassing and ugly.

Carey Chauvin, interim assistant chief administrative officer for the city-parish, tells us the maintenance department “typically runs three street sweepers throughout the city-parish Monday through Friday for eight hours each day.

“Currently, two of the three sweepers are in the shop for repairs, leaving only a single sweeper working to clean the streets. The current sweepers are older and experience frequent mechanical problems. Our maintenance managers have spent the past several months studying new sweeper models which operate much more efficiently and effectively and with very little required maintenance.

“We anticipate replacing the older sweepers with these newer models in the next several months. This will have a significant positive impact on our ability to keep the city streets clean.”

Does the state ever run street cleaners on the inner and outer shoulders of I-10 between the 10-12 split and Highland Road? The shoulders are littered with blown tires, mattresses, and anything else that blows off an open-air truck, not to mention parts of cars involved in accidents.

Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, says the agency has a maintenance contract for interstate sweeping.

“They perform one sweeping cycle per month under nighttime operations. It typically takes them about a week. The contract includes inside shoulders, outside shoulders, and on/off-ramp shoulders for I-10, I-12 and I-110. An average monthly cycle collects approximately 40 tons of debris.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long after a sweeping cycle before debris begins to pile up again. DOTD maintenance forces do perform random debris collection, as resources allow, between contract sweeping cycles.”

Want to see a street sweeper in action? DOTD has a site on YouTube with all sorts of interesting videos. Just follow this link.

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email