The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) joined with the Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (Resource Recovery) on a new initiative aimed at reducing roadside litter, particularly on highways and other roads leading to the Rhode Island Central Landfill in Johnston.
Roads such as I-295, Route 6, Plainfield Pike and Shun Pike have higher than usual amounts of litter and require more frequent cleaning. The source of this extra trash is the beds of trucks - either when hauling debris to the landfill and surrounding industries or leaving it, with lightweight debris blowing out of truck beds.
Large commercial waste haulers already cover and secure their loads. The focus of this outreach effort is to reach smaller commercial truck drivers in a variety of industries using all sizes of trucks right down to pick-up trucks. The Central Landfill services about 900 trucks per day.
RIDOT, Resource Recovery and State Police will work to increase awareness of this problem in a number of ways. Over 100 signs indicating increased fines for littering - ranging from $85 to $1,000 - have been installed this spring. State and local police will be increasing enforcement for unsecured loads and debris falling off trucks. Resource Recovery is reaching out to neighboring communities as well as regular customers of the Central Landfill.
"More than an eyesore and unwelcoming message to travelers, litter is a big drain on our resources," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said, "resources that otherwise can be used to patch potholes, repair street lights, clean bridges and perform other tasks vitally important for maintaining our transportation infrastructure."
"The Rhode Island State Police will aggressively enforce all laws requiring motorists to secure their loads, whether they're driving private cars and pickup trucks or commercial vehicles," Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety said. "Failure to prevent litter and other debris from falling onto the roadways not only results in unsightly trash problems but also creates hazardous conditions for other motorists."
"Resource Recovery is proud to partner with RIDOT and the State Police to encourage safe, environmentally compliant transportation of solid waste," remarked Brian Card, Director of Operations and Engineering for Resource Recovery. "A critical part of being a good neighbor is to prevent, minimize, and contain litter in our community."
Litter clean-up is an ongoing task for RIDOT, often completed in cooperation with inmate cleaning crews from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, an effort costing approximately $400,000 per year. This effort is supplemented with RIDOT sending out teams of its maintenance workers as often as twice a month to pick up large debris accumulated on the highways from unsecured or uncovered trucks. An estimated 65,000 bags of trash are picked up each year from the roadways.