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Missouri crews work to reduce litter after struggles with unloaded, uncovered vehicles

Crews cleaning up roadside litter along I-70 W near Noland Road
Posted at 7:09 AM, Jun 06, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation is pushing to reduce roadside litter after spending nearly $14 million last year picking up trash.

"We spent nearly $14 million last year and that's money that could have gone to projects and to actually repairing the roads instead of picking up litter on the roadside," said Matthew Killion, assistant district engineer with MoDOT.

To curb the ongoing litter, MoDot teamed up with outside contractors about a year-and-a-half ago to put an end to roadside litter. Together, crews are able to cover 62 miles every two weeks and gather between 1,500 to 1,800 pounds of trash daily, but it’s been a challenge keeping up.

"When we first started we were hoping to make make some progress and thought the pounds would go down, but that trash just keeps on coming," Killion explained. "We encounter all kinds of trash, furniture, hazardous material."

According to MoDot, a significant amount of this trash comes from unloaded and uncovered trailers, which is why all month long the Missouri State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on this issue to ensure trucks, commercial vehicles and trailers are properly secured, and covering and following state rules and regulations.

Failure to comply can result in a monetary fine; if you get caught littering, it can lead to a misdemeanor charge with possible jail time and fees.

You can also help fix the problem and volunteer to pick up trash through MoDot's Keep Missouri Beautiful program.