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Michele Compton, (816) 607-2150

July 22, 2011 12:11 PM
Cleaning Debris From the Highway Just Went High-Speed
MoDOT first in nation to use new debris removal tool

Media Opportunity: Crews will demonstrate the new tool at 9:30 a.m. on July 25 at the Lee's Summit Municipal Airport at 2757 NE Douglas, Lee's Summit, Mo 64064

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- You've seen it before: The slow moving truck with a large flashing arrow pushing you into the next lane. The laborious progression as crews hop from the truck to retrieve the random tire tread, couch cushions, laundry basket, branches or the hapless deer who crossed too soon. It's the debris removal crew snaking through the city, keeping MoDOT routes safe. But soon this operation, as we know it today, may be a thing of the past.

The Kansas City district is testing a debris removal tool that is so new it is one of only four in existence - the only one in use in the United States. Custom built to fit MoDOT's larger truck, this innovative device scoops up trash while the vehicle travels at a comfortable 45 to 50 mph with traffic.

"Before we had to slow and move traffic to another lane in order to remove large debris," said Bill Billings, MoDOT maintenance superintendent. "This device allows us to flow alongside traffic but still get our work done. We've picked up debris right next to drivers and they didn't even notice. It also keeps our crews safely in the cab during the process, not alongside rushing traffic.  "

During testing phase, crews offer feedback to the company to make it stronger and more versatile to handle the array of trash types and sizes. The next version will likely have a different style of blade and heavier body.

MoDOT staff pick up debris year-round, which can range from general car trash to pieces of furniture. One of the most common items - tires and tread - is actually separated and re-used. Since 2005, MoDOT has recycled 256,250 tires for construction projects - enough tires to equip 64,063 cars.

For more information on debris removal, recycling or any of MoDOT projects, please visit MoDOT's Website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, be a friend on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity  or send questions and comments to kccommunityrelations@modot.mo.gov.

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