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Clearing trash from area roadways not lost cause for KDOT

Posted at 4:41 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 18:06:26-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — There's a trash problem along highways throughout the Kansas City metro area and crews are doing what they can to clean up the problem.

"We're having a tremendous problem with trash," Kansas Department of Transportation employee Drake Jennings said.

To many, the problem seems like a lost cause.

"It's very frustrating, it never ends," Jennings said. "I mean job security is great I guess but it's a never ending job."

Every week, KDOT crews try to pick up trash along the highway at least once. Recently, their efforts have kicked into overdrive.

"For 16 hours, two eight-hour days, they (crews) did nothing but pick up trash," Jennings said.

Two weekends in a row, crews have been focused on the problem areas on the Kansas side. Those areas are also the spots with the highest traffic.

"69 Highway between the Blue Valley Parkway split and I-35 is always a problem area," Jennings said. "I-435 between I-35 and Shawnee Mission Parkway is always a problem area."

Over the past two weekends, KDOT crews picked up enough trash to fill 14 dump trucks. As crews make progress, Jennings said the problem will not only continue, but get worse as traffic continues to grow.

Currently, there's no dedicated litter crews on either side of the state line. KDOT and MoDOT have to base clean up days around regular maintenance schedules.

"If I go out to pick up trash, I have to shut down pothole patching or guard rail repair or sign repairs," Jennings said.

MoDOT and KDOT are both asking for people to get involved with the Adopt-A-Highway program.