Keeping the City Running

by Bill Harkins, Executive Director of Public Works

Even before the sun creeps over the bay, dozens of Mobile’s Public Works employees are providing key services to our citizens. Our Sanitation Department picks up household garbage, those tan and black garbage carts, at 72,000 residences each week.  Not to be outdone, our Trash Crew removes tree limbs and other such material throughout the City.  These are key pieces of the intricate mix of departments that work diligently to keep the City running.

Not only do our Trash and Garbage teams pick up and properly dispose of tons of material each day, they flawlessly adjusted their routes throughout the City a few months ago. As anticipated, we’ve seen a higher rate efficiency and productivity as a result.  This, along with the purchase of several new vehicles for these sections, has reduced overtime costs alone by over $70,000 this year.

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Other Public Works crews are patching holes in the street, repairing curbs, cleaning our 35,000 storm drains, sweeping streets and clearing ditches.  With agility, they move from routine work to emergency situations at a moment’s notice.  The worse the weather, the more work these professionals attack with the goal of helping Mobile function as smoothly as possible.

If a traffic light malfunctions or streetlight is run over, the Traffic Engineer and Electrical Departments are en route to correct the problem.  If a neighborhood group is planning a cleanup, Keep Mobile Beautiful is quick to provide assistance in the form of “litter grabbers” and other equipment. No City department could accomplish their critical tasks without the skilled support of the personnel in the Garage and Motor Pool. They keep the fleet maintained and ready for the personnel on the streets who accomplish the wide variety of tasks many Mobilians take for granted.  The Equipment Services team is famous for their ability to adapt to any situation as they work diligently to keep the City’s vehicles on the road.   public works1

Besides the day to day work, Public Works is a critical part of preparation for and recovery from the many special events conducted in our City.  The pinnacle of this is observed directly during Mardi Gras.  If you want to witness an amazingly efficient and well-orchestrated operation, step back when you see the fire truck coming at the end of a parade this year and enjoy the show!  Tons of material are swept and picked up from the streets, sidewalks and parks, keeping this litter from clogging our drainage system and polluting Mobile Bay. Thousands of heavy steel barricades are moved back and forth before and after the parades, providing a safe environment for everyone having a good time.  Supervisors make adjustments on the fly, ensuring a smooth process amidst all the noise and flashing lights.  Like the support services provided at the Super Bowl, no one notices how great they are unless a problem pops up and is not resolved quickly.

Public Works is proud to be an integral part of the team helping Mobile become the safest, most business and family friendly city in America by 2020. Our employees work in all kinds of conditions, seeking to provide top notch services to our citizens, we do our part to keep the City running – full speed ahead!