Complaints pile in about trash on highways

July 12, 2018 08:29 AM

Many of you have been complaining about trash along highways in the Rochester area.

The local Department of Transportation couldn't give an exact figure on how much it cost taxpayers to clean up highway litter, but according to Keep America Beautiful cleaning up trash costs the United States more than $11 million every year.

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Even with the high costs, many people have been contacting News10NBC asking about trash along 390, 490, and 590.

Those roadways are all DOT maintained, but people say they often see debris, pieces of tires, and just plain trash. The DOT says it's an ongoing process to keep the highways clean. Officials point the finger at citizens for the litter on the side of the road.

During the winter, the DOT is tied up clearing snow and when it heats up, the majority of time is spent fixing potholes and on other projects.

Fairport resident Steve Burruto believes trash pickup should take a higher priority.

"For me, these highways are the gateways," Burruto says. "For most people, their first impression of Rochester is that it's not well kept and it's kind of a dump and I'm embarrassed about that."

Jordan Guerrein, the NYSDOT Public Information Officer, says the department has ongoing efforts to keep the roadways clean. He says they also partner with cities and towns.

"The DOT does take this issue seriously," Guerrein says. "We had an Earth Day trash blitz, which was a successful event cleaning up the Inner Loop in Rochester. We got the northern portion of the Inner Loop cleaned, the right away cleaned, and all the grass cleaned. Now, unfortunately, we're again seeing litter in that area." 

In addition to the DOT's effort, some of the trash gets picked up by inmates in the Monroe County Jail and members of the Adopt-a-Highway program also helps.

If you get caught littering by police, you can face up to a $350 fine and be required to complete community service.


Kaci Jones

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