Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
A mountain of trash assembled by the Heliotrope Maintenance Yard crew.

Caltrans Spring Clean Up Day 2011
by  Patrick Chandler
Issue Date: 05/2011

As part of the department’s participation in Earth Day on Friday, April 22, District 7 held its Spring Clean Up Day press conference at the Heliotrope Maintenance Yard in Hollywood.

Representatives from Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Conservation Corps (CCC), and Waste Management (a member of Keep California Beautiful) emphasized that everyone has to take a part in keeping California clean.

A mountain of debris and litter included couches, e-waste (computers, keyboards, monitors, televisions, etc.), car seats, shoes, grocery carts, futons, food wrappers, mattresses, and many other trash items were collected by the Heliotrope Maintenance crew. All of the items were found on the Arroyo Seco Parkway (SR-110) in only four days within a three-mile area.

Every year Caltrans spends millions of dollars to fight litter and vandalism on Los Angeles freeways and highways. “So far District 7 has spent $13 million this year picking up 40,000 cubic yards of litter,” said Deputy District Director of Maintenance Dan Freeman.

This year District 7 has spent $1.9 million cleaning up graffiti. Maintenance crews have painted over 2.9 million square feet of graffiti.

The other agencies present helped to show that trash is not only unsightly and costly along California’s freeways and highways, but that it continues to damage valuable resources.

“Trash is a major issue really harming our waterways in Southern California,” said Fran Diamond, chair of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. “Trash makes it not a very fun experience if you go to the beach and find tons of trash there. The trash really builds up during rainy seasons.”

The public can also take an active role.

Through the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program, businesses, organizations and individuals can take responsibility for keeping a two-mile stretch of road free from litter.

Currently, in District 7 there are 190 active adoption groups in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and more than 2,614 statewide. They are making considerable inroads in roadside litter control and saving California taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Throughout the state, these volunteers picked up nearly 16,741 cubic liters of trash by the end of last year.

Caltrans also partners with adjacent cities to maximize clean-up efforts, and works with community groups such as schools, churches and charitable organizations.

“We need all the help we can get. So please get the word out – trash and litter have no place on our freeways,” said Freeman.

Here are some simple tips that can help you avoid being a litter bug:

• Carry a litter bag in your vehicle.
• Always cover and properly secure loads.
• Never discard a cigarette or other tobacco product along the roadway

Douglas Morgan, CHP Lieutenant Fran Diamond, chair, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Elmer Heap, Waste Management, Keep California Beautiful Board member Duane Wilson, project manager, California Conservation Corps