SOUTHERN COLORADO — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) undertook a massive cleanup effort on Monday from the New Mexico border all the way to Monument, but they are urging the public to help mitigate a growing problem.

CDOT has seen an increase of trash on roadways and heard complaints from the community, and in response, asked a majority of their Region 2 employees to spend a portion of their day collecting trash. Whether they are with the maintenance department, engineering, traffic or support services, employees were out making sure Colorado’s roads aren’t littered with trash. Teams worked along I-25 in Pueblo, Trinidad, and Colorado Springs, as well as US 50 in La Junta, US 287 in Lamar, and US 285 in Fairplay.

“It’s exposure to our employees, having to be on the side of the road doing this,” said Chuck Kline from the Region Safety Office of CDOT. “I just ask, throw your trash in a trashcan. Find the right place to put it, because as taxpayers of the state of Colorado, it’s costing all of us a lot of money.”

CDOT is calling on the community to help mitigate this problem, so they can focus on the responsibilities that take precedence.

“CDOT maintenance crews have a significant list of priorities,” CDOT said in a press release. “We have limited resources and we have to prioritize them accordingly. We have to choose snow plowing and repairing road damage before trash collection… Often, it is impossible to keep up with the trash that thoughtless people have dumped on us. When our crews spend time picking up debris/trash they are not conducting highway maintenance.”

Keeping southern Colorado beautiful is a community-wide responsibility, and CDOT provided a few tips that will help them avoid this problem in the future:

  • Secure all loads in vehicles
  • Never throw trash on the roadway
  • Be aware of trash and debris on your property, be sure it is collected and secured appropriately
  • If you notice someone illegally dumping, report it – you can find a code enforcement complaint form here

There are other ways to get involved, too. CDOT says they are low on “Adopt A Highway” volunteers. If you would like more information on volunteer opportunities to help keep Colorado roadways clean, visit codot.gov/programs/adopt-a-highway