A piece of tire, a broken pallet, broken glass, scrap metal; anytime you hit the road, you are bound to see some or all of these items on the shoulder of the highway. But this road debris is more than an eyesore; it is a costly and dangerous hazard on our roadways.
The cost of road debris
More than $1.15 billion is spent annually on litter and debris removal from U.S. Highways. Those costs limit states’ ability to make improvements and repairs. In California alone, public agencies spend more than $375 million on road debris cleanup and disposal. CALTRANS alone spent $55 million removing more than 143,000 cubic yards of road debris in 2005.
Road debris is not just expensive to clean up, it is a productivity killer and leads to unnecessary fuel consumption. Road debris causes flat tires, accidents, and creates unsafe driving conditions. These costs are staggering! Over a 20 year period from 1982 to 2003, traffic congestion caused by road debris cost the U.S. $63 billion in lost productivity and fuel consumption. During this period, the average cost of a gallon of gas ranged from 85¢ to $1.75. Now the cost of fuel is 300-400% higher, so the cost of wasted fuel is far greater today.
Road debris leads to accidents
Road debris is blamed for causing more than 25,000 crashes every year according to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety. Open-bed vehicles – light duty trucks and trailers – are said to be the source of 60% of all road debris and litter on American roadways.
Picking up metal debris from roads and highways
A growing number of municipalities across the United States are using vehicle mounted and tow behind magnetic sweepers to eradicate metal debris from roads and highways. These magnets pick up those small and dangerous pieces of metal that sweeping vehicles cannot remove. Additionally, maintenance vehicles can be outfitted with a hanging magnetic sweeper to collect metal in between routine cleanings. Sweepers are also frequently attached to road graders and tractors that cut grass from roadway shoulders. Even metal that is far off in the shoulder can be swept onto the driving surface by adverse weather.
Magnetic sweepers that are ideal for use by road cleaning crews include our Type ALT Magnetic Sweeper, Type A.R. Auto-Release Magnetic Sweeper and the MKS 4000 & MKS 5000 Tow-Behind Magnetic Sweepers.