Keeping the Roads Clean

Case Studies
Printer-friendly version

In an effort to preserve a safe and positive environmental condition on the 35-mile-long George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP), the Road and Trails Division of the National Park Service of the U.S. is evaluating the new waterless roadway sweeping technology. This, according to Deputy Parkway Superintendent Jon James, is being evaluated for use on a year-round basis. The GWMP Division is evidently satisfied with using the new Elgin Eagle Series F Sweeper with the waterless option. It was acquired through the standard GSA purchasing schedule after initially evaluating several competitive models.

Equally as important to the National Park Service’s crew is that the funerals of those men and women of all branches of service and government, whatever their rank or rate, be treated with the greatest respect. This starts with maintaining access to the honored site at all times—winter snows and ice, as well as summer sun and rains. The new Elgin Eagle sweeper , equipped with the waterless option, is a prime tool in accomplishing this mission.

It also is imperative that Tony King, the engineering equipment operator supervisor for the National Park Service’s Roads and Trails Division’s GWMP in northern Virginia, schedules his crew, equipped with the Elgin sweeper, to make their rounds at the nearby U. S. Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima Memorial as early in the day as possible. Individual dignitaries, guests, visitors and buses filled with tourists to the world-famous statue often begin arriving shortly after daylight. The efficient cleaning and sweeping of the streets A look at the latest street sweepers at this site is quite essential. Another area maintained by the crew with the Elgin sweeper, according to King, is George Washington’s homestead at Mount Vernon. While this is a popular site for visitation all year long, especially for groups of school children on class outings, the visitor count is especially heavy during Easter vacation time and during Washington’s Birthday commemorations.


One interesting aspect of highway sweeping on the GWMP is time. For King and the few men in his division selected to operate the new Elgin waterless sweeper, timing is everything, especially during the tourist season. The roads to and around the monuments and historic sites on the routes must be swept clean early so as not to inconvenience the crowds of daily visitors.

Then there are those early morning and late afternoon traffic jams. These are created by the hundreds of thousands of commuters driving into and out of the nation’s capital twice daily, every workday.

The GWMP is considered a weekday commuter route (83,000 ADT) by local residents. It also offers the casual weekend traveler much more than a convenience. It is a route to scenic, historic and recreational settings offering respite from the urban pressures of metropolitan Washington. In addition, it protects the Potomac River shoreline and watershed. The parkway provides a pleasant day’s trip from Mount Vernon to Great Falls, passing through the same lands George Washington frequently traveled on horseback.

The GWMP consists of two main sections. The first is the 25-mile Virginia section that runs from Mount Vernon northward along the Potomac River to I-495. The second section is in Maryland, where the Clara Barton Parkway follows the Potomac River for seven miles from Chain Bridge in Washington to north of I-495.

The waterless technique being tried is especially valuable when maintaining a clean, protected roadway and meeting the demand for the quick pickup of thousands of tons of wintertime sand and chemicals that are spread to ensure the safety of parkway users.

Long sections of the Parkway parallel the Potomac River, so storm-water drainage eventually finds its way into the waterway. Anything that can be done to reduce pollution has a significant environmental benefit. This includes reducing water used in roadway sweeping runoff.

The year-round pickup of stormrelated debris also is a noteworthy situation that must be addressed. A sudden spring, summer or fall storm can knock down tree limbs and untold hundreds of thousands of leaves from the deciduous trees lining the parkway. When wet, these leaves have a tendency to turn a highway surface into the consistency of a gigantic ice skating rink, sometimes with disastrous results.

The Elgin Eagle sweeper and Pelican sweepers from Elgin Sweeper, Elgin, Ill., offer a choice of completely dry or wet dust control. The patented dry dust control system operates efficiently at normal sweeping speeds, minimizes filter loading and extends filter-cleaning intervals. Flexible skirts around the main and side brooms provide efficient dust capture and fine removal. Information provided by Elgin Sweeper.

Overlay Init