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Trash is evident along St. Louis-area interstates

COVID-19 has prevented prisoners from getting involved in litter pick-up

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis area probably won't have to deal with ice and snow on area interstates again this season, but something has been left behind: trash.

Paper, plastic and debris litter our area interstates.

It’s evident along parts of Interstate 70 in north St. Louis County. It’s also evident on the ground beneath the ramp where I-270 north exits onto I-70 westbound. There you can find trash, paper, plastic, and more… littering the landscape.

Bob Becker is MoDOT District Maintenance Engineer.

“This time of year, it's always a problem,” said Becker. “We start getting a lot of complaints and concerns about litter because it does pile up for the winter. Nothing is green out there, so it really shows up.”

Trash can also be seen along the road at the I-64 and I-270 interchange. Becker said MoDOT crews were, indeed, busy on the roads this winter. But they were clearing them of ice and snow.

“Absolutely,” Becker said. “Road safety is number one, so we focus on the roadway first and then off the roadway after that.”

Near I-270 at Page is a sign for the MoDOT Adopt-a-Highway Litter Cleanup program. The sign bears the name of the person who has volunteered to keep that part of the roadway clear of litter.

Ironically, the ground around the sign is littered with trash.

Becker said the Missouri Department of Corrections normally makes prisoners available to pick up trash along area interstates, but that didn’t happen this year because of COVID.

“Right, we work with the state prison and they've been they've put those restrictions in place to keep their people safe,” he explained.

Becker said the trash becomes a priority right after safety and potholes. He said one option MODOT has is to work with mowing crews and ask them to pick-up trash, as well.

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