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It took nearly two full days of drive time to bring the city’s first street sweeper from California to Radcliff.
The vehicle was acquired at no cost and to further save money, City Engineer Toby Spalding personally drove the machine from California.
“You don’t do but 58 miles per hour on the interstate,” he said.
But the long haul was preferable — and cheaper — than the roughly $6,000 delivery bill the city could have paid, Spalding said.
The city obtained the 2003 model Elgin Crosswind Series J street sweeper from Barstow, Calif., the latest in a line of free bounty snatched up by the Radcliff Police Department through the Law Enforcement Support Office, a federal surplus program.
The program has netted nearly $1 million in free property for the northern Hardin County city during the past year and allows law enforcement agencies to bid on surplus military equipment.
RPD spokesman Bryce Shumate has led the effort to bid on items, scooping up free ATVS, lights, tools, four-wheelers, Kawasaki mules and a travel trailer the department plans to use as a command center.
“This program has just really benefited the city of Radcliff in the last year,” Shumate said.
During the requisition process, Shumate said departments must provide a justification for the request and an explanation for how the equipment will be used.
In acquiring the sweeper, Shumate and the department cited an increase in crashes on Dixie Boulevard in the past two or three years, creating an excess of debris, such as shattered glass and broken car parts.
“This, in turn, can cause flat tires, which can cause more car crashes,” Shumate said.
Mayor J.J. Duvall said the street sweeper will be used to pick up street and crash debris and contribute to clean city streets, curbs and gutters — part of the mayor’s ongoing beautification efforts.
Spalding said the sweeper was valued by the military at roughly $78,000 and is practically new with less than 5,000 logged miles and about 189 recorded hours of use. Because the vehicle recently had been sedentary, the city invested around $10,000 in maintenance and repairs for new tires, a battery and transmission. Spalding said the city also is obtaining estimates on a white finish to replace its green paint.
Duvall and Spalding said the street sweeper’s presence is an immediate and flexible asset for the city because of its dual functions: The front bumper holds a high-powered magnet fit to siphon metal from roadways while the rear end has a vacuum suction hose capable of cleaning out catch basins.
Prior to the acquisition, the city had no mechanized means of cleaning streets, curbs, gutters or basins. When a curb and gutter needed treatment, a public works crew was dispatched with nothing more than brooms and shovels to clean manually, Spalding said.
“We’d have to worry about them getting run over (holding) a broom and shovel,” Spalding said. “That’s the only option we (had).”
Spalding said the sweeper will be used at least one day a week and after events and festivals.
“It’s definitely worth us going to pick it up,” the mayor said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.