Litter on the highway is a common sight along many of California's roads and highways. Caltrans says the problem has plagued the state's streets for decades.
On Wednesday, July 7, the group is holding Clean California Day of Action, a statewide effort to remove this litter. The event is part of Clean California's larger vision for a trash free highway system.
Today's Day of Action will include litter cleanup along Highway 135 in Santa Maria and US 101 in Greenfield.
Caltrans Maintenance crews are working alongside partners and organizations in the cleanup. Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez, State , field representatives for Assemblymember Robert Rivas, Senator Monique Limon and the Central Coast Partners for Water Quality are participating in the event.
Wednesday's cleanup lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jim Shivers, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 5, emphasizes the cost of litter.
"When our highway workers are picking up litter, it is, number one, a cost of money," Shivers says. "The state spends millions of dollars statewide on removing litter."
Picking up litter also costs work hours, he explains.
"Our highway workers are taken away from other important work," he says, "whether it is pothole repair [or] guardrail repair."
The more litter highway workers have to deal with, the less time they have to address other roadwork needs, Shivers says.
Clean California is a three year Caltrans initiative aimed to decrease litter along state highways across California's 58 counties. The nearly $1.1 billion project is pairing trash collection and landscape beautification. Caltrans says it will transform roadsides into beautiful places that Californians can take pride in.
Caltrans says another impact of the project is job creation.
Clean California is separate from Senate Bill 1, the state's transportation bill that was signed into law in 2017. Senate Bill 1 invests $5 billion per year to repair and upgrade bridges, pavement, local roads, and transit.