Tuesday, August 16

Norristown Went Without a Street Sweeper for 19 Days This Summer

In Norristown, PA, residents may have noticed that the streets were a little less clean this past June. That is because one of the area’s street sweepers was out of commission for 19 days for repairs.

The 2007 Elgin Pelican street sweeper had to be in the repair shop from June 9 to June 27. Norriston, located just six miles North of Philadelphia, is home to 25,000 residents.

“We had to replace a number of different motors that operate the brooms. One was the main broom motor and some of the other motors run the side brooms,” explained Norrison public works director, Robert Glisson. “Grand Turk in Bridgeport, the manufacturer’s authorized repair facility, did the repairs for $24,000.”

While the Pelican was out of commission, the second street sweeper attempted to handle some of its routes during the afternoon, in addition to its normal street routes that it hit every morning.

There are a few reasons that the street sweepers sometimes have trouble making an effective sweep of a block. One problem, according to Glisson, is parked cars. Another issue is low hanging tree branches. While the first sweeper was out of commission in June, a public works crew trimmed back some of these branches so that when the sweeper does come back, it will be able to run along the curb line with ease.

“I can speak from experience when I say that keeping our street sweepers in working condition is a full time job in itself,” says Steve Dekelbaum, owner of Quiet Sweep in Rockville, Maryland. “Street sweepers take a beating, there is no question about it. We are happy that our facility is large enough to house an onsite maintenance team to handle all of our repairs.”

For the future, Norristown is hoping to buy a new machine in order to replace the 2007 Pelican. Such a machine, though, will cost between $170,000 and $210,000. When the time does come to complete the purchase, the town will likely use a leasing plan through the Pennsylvania COSTARS cooperative purchasing program, which aims to help local entities receive more competitive bids through backed funding.

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