116,000 cubic yards of trash cleared from Colorado highways | VailDaily.com

116,000 cubic yards of trash cleared from Colorado highways

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” Each year, thousands of pounds of trash stack up on the shoulders of Colorado highways. The Colorado Department of Transportation relies heavily on their maintenance crews and voluntary groups such as Adopt-A-Highway and Sponsor-A-Highway programs to keep them clean.

The Adopt-A-Highway program relies strictly on volunteer groups throughout Colorado who pick up trash along designated stretches of Colorado highways.

Currently, over 3,000 miles of highway have been adopted across the state, leaving 4,845 miles available for interested volunteer groups.

The Grand Junction area, which included Glenwood Springs and Vail, is the largest in the state with 357 volunteer groups who have adopted 650 out of 1,124 miles of highway under the program and have removed 1,434 cubic-yards of trash during the 2008 fiscal year (July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008), according to a CDOT report.

“The Adopt-A-Highway program is a great way for local groups to give back to their communities and help the environment,” said CDOT Executive Director Russ George. “All of the volunteers are essential in CDOT’s litter removal program and we strongly encourage volunteer groups to take part in this positive program designed to preserve the beauty of our state.”

Statewide, there are over 1,700 volunteer groups that pick up trash two to four times a year on their adopted segment of highway. Those volunteer efforts account for 4,755 cubic-yards of trash removed so far for the 2008 fiscal year.

Since the Sponsor-A-Highway program began in July 2004, over 40,000 trash bags have been removed from Front Range highways. This year alone, 13,569 trash bags or 33,923 cubic-yards of trash were removed, saving CDOT approximately $1.3 million.

The Sponsor-A-Highway program entails Front Range highways and currently has 90 of the 383 total miles available in the program adopted by 26 corporations. Each corporation adopts one- or two-mile segments, which are frequently cleaned and the trash is picked up by a contractor once a month.

CDOT contracts with Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal Service of America, Inc. to manage Colorado’s Sponsor-A-Highway program at no cost to the state. A corporate sponsor’s financial contribution for litter removal on a segment of highway is recognized by a sign.

Sponsorship fees range from $275 to $400 a month with a one-time sign fee of $800.

“Despite the fact that our maintenance crews conduct much of the litter removal, we are seeing an increase in activity from the Sponsor-A-Highway program, which removed nearly 30 percent of the litter last year,” said George. “This is a great sign as it is becoming increasingly difficult for our maintenance crews to keep up with all of the state’s highway needs.”

Collectively, for the fiscal year 2008, the three groups combined removed over 116,000 cubic yards of trash from Colorado’s highways, the majority of which was done by CDOT maintenance crews who removed 65,000 cubic-yards of trash statewide. The total amount is enough to fill 23,303 single-axle dump trucks.

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