Debris on roads, bridges a hazard for Port Royal bicyclists

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 6, 2012 

A walker works her way up the new J.E. McTeer Bridge on Thursday as a ship prepares to pass underneath. Some cyclists say the bridge's bike lanes aren’t being cleaned enough because road debris is causing them numerous flat tires.

JONATHAN DYER/THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

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A little litter can go a long way to deter a bicyclist from using some of Beaufort County's bridges and roads.

Last weekend, Joe DeVito rode with friends to Hunting Island State Park, and one blew a tire on Sea Island Parkway. It's a frequent and frustrating occurrence, and one DeVito hopes will be cleared up.

DeVito says it's not just the S.C. Department of Transportation's responsibility to keep roadways clean.

"It's everybody who throws their bottle or their beer can and their items out of the window of the car," he said. "We could never ask our DOT to keep the roads completely clean. It's the responsibility of the people who drive over them.

"But every once in a while, to run a street sweeper to get it clean would be nice."

This week, sweepers will hit state-owned roads in northern Beaufort County to clean up a problem area, said Carol Hardage, contracting officer at DOT's Beaufort Maintenance Office. Through the state's contract with DeAngelo Brothers Inc., the local office can use the sweepers six times a year. The visits are used when debris starts to pile up, especially along curbs and gutters, she said.

Some bicyclists have also complained about debris on the new J.E. McTeer Bridge between Lady's Island and Port Royal. Technically, the bridge is still under construction -- the work is done, but the project is not finished until all the paperwork is completed -- and therefore, it's the responsibility of the county and contractor.

But upon learning Monday of the bikers' problems, construction manager Eric Rabon sent a crew to check the bridge. A few nails, some broken glass and other debris were discovered and cleaned up, and Rabon said the crews would keep an eye out for future problems.

Problem areas reported to DOT or Beaufort County will be checked again by the contractor's crews, Rabon said.

"Construction debris shouldn't be any issue," he said, noting the deck was swept several weeks ago after construction was completed.

The debris comes from a variety of sources, including trash that flies out of vehicles, especially from trash trucks, DOT's Hardage said.

DeVito also is concerned about plastic and glass left on the road after accidents. The county's towing ordinance requires tow-truck drivers to carry equipment to clean up debris. Sunday's blown tire was caused by automobile glass, DeVito said.

"It's the little things," he said. "If the tow-truck drivers cleaned up after accidents, and people were considerate, and the state and the city got together and figured out a road cleaning process, more people would be out there riding."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.

Related content

  1. Major construction complete on new Beaufort River bridge, Aug. 16, 2011
  2. Trash hauler driver cited for illegal dumping, Sept. 26, 2011
  3. One person's litter is another's pain in the butt, Sept. 26, 2011

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