California Department of Transportation District 11 ­ San Diego & Imperial Counties

District 11

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Contact: Media Relations Officer Edward Cartagena

Phone: (619) 688-6670

Freeway Litter Costs Taxpayers Millions, Presents Safety Issues For Some Motorists

SAN DIEGO – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) spoke today against a backdrop of orange trash bags about the cost impact and safety hazards that litter presents on area freeways. 

“In our personal lives, all of us are doing what we can to save a few bucks in this economy and, at the same time, do what’s best for the environment,” said Chief Deputy William Valle.  “It just makes sense that we apply that same concept to how we spend out state tax dollars.”

About $2.5 million was spent in the past year to remove litter from area freeways – a cost that can be avoided by putting trash in its proper place.   Litter crews collected enough trash to fill 138,000 large orange trash bags.  That works out to more than three of the 30-gallon bags of trash for each seat in Petco Park.

Valle also addressed the serious threat to motorists that results when large debris such as a mattress or refrigerator falls onto the highway because a load is not properly secured. 

CHP Captain Cary McGagin joined Valle to discuss law enforcement and securing large loads.  When these loads hit the pavement, they can create safety hazards for motorists.

Valle also presented a certificate of appreciation to community volunteer Mario Mendez, who applied for single-day permits to remove litter from along State Route 54 in his Bonita neighborhood.

Members of the public are encouraged to get involved in single-day litter removal, to use litterbags in their vehicles and to report illegal dumping.

For more information about applying for a single-day permit for litter removal please contact the Caltrans Public Information Office at (619) 688-6670.

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