"What's up with that?" - Trash on highways - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

"What's up with that?" - Trash on highways

Posted: Updated:

A recent 'What's Up With That' post on ABC 33/40'S Facebook page comes from   Kathy Spratlin Sherrer who wrote, "I would like to see someone address the problem of trash along our roadsides!!! It's a huge problem in Alabama!"

Kathy, we agree.

It's easy to toss it out, but it costs millions to pick it up.

It's a never ending cycle. We've found couches, and chairs and mattresses. But the bulk of this debris is stuff that people throw out, the Coke cup and the beer can and just the general trash, that's a conscious decision someone is making to throw it out," says ALDOT engineer Brian Davis.

Davis says that decision to litter costs Alabama taxpayers, millions.

"These same people who are throwing this stuff out, we're taking their tax revenues and cleaning their debris up," Davis explains. "People want to know what we do about it, and I don't think there's anybody in the metro area that is ever satisfied with what we do."

In Jefferson County alone, where four interstates intersect, ALDOT spends over $2 million each year on litter pickup.

The state has two different contracts. One for trash, and one for street sweeping.

"We spend $1.6 million a year on litter pickup, we spend over $500,000 on sweeping," says Davis.

Every two weeks, litter crews are on highways and interstates in Jefferson County picking up rubbish.

That money comes out of the county's maintenance budget.

Davis says, ALDOT shouldn't have to spend a dime.

"If people took some pride in our region, that's $2.1 million that I could put back on maintenance, for guardrail repairs, for pothole repairs, for sign upgrades, all that money comes out of a maintenance budget," Davis explains. "We have very limited resources. We basically are in maintenance mode. We're not building a lot of new facilities. We are maintaining the ones that we have. Couple that with we're having to peel money off the top to pick up other people's trash that could be going to making our roadways even safer. It's just a shame."

Each city and county is responsible for trash pickup on roads they maintain. Due to Jefferson County's bankruptcy, money is too tight to even send out crews for county roads.

But, along the interstates, ALDOT's crews are there for one reason.

"They're not out there for any other purpose other than the necessity of having to be out there for someone else's negligence. So if you're going to force us to be out there doing something we'd really rather not do, at least have the courtesy to slow down and keep our workers safe," Davis says.

To litterbugs everywhere, Davis poses this question.

"We wouldn't throw it out in our yards, why would we throw it out on the roadways that leads to our homes?"

Davis says ALDOT doesn't use prisoners for cleanup very much because it isn't as cost effective as it used to be.

Davis says it may very well be that if the trend of having to do more with less continues, then litter pickup would be one of the first things to go. He says that's because maintenance is a top priority.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Moody High School students mourn death of classmate

    Moody High School students mourn death of classmate

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 3:51 PM EDT2014-08-19 19:51:03 GMT
    Students at Moody High School are mourning the loss of their classmate. 16-year-old Jonathan Harris, a sophomore died Monday night from injuries sustained in a weekend rollover accident on Roberts Mill Pond Road in Pell City. Students wore blue on Tuesday, the school color of Moody High School, the same color he wore on the football field and on the wrestling mat. "Jonathan was always one of those kids who had a smile on his face. You would never catch him frowning or in a bad mood. He was ...More >>
    Students at Moody High School are mourning the loss of their classmate. 16-year-old Jonathan Harris, a sophomore died Monday night from injuries sustained in a weekend rollover accident on Roberts Mill Pond Road in Pell City. Students wore blue on Tuesday, the school color of Moody High School, the same color he wore on the football field and on the wrestling mat. "Jonathan was always one of those kids who had a smile on his face. You would never catch him frowning or in a bad mood. He was ...More >>
  • Alabama alligator hunter demolishes state record with 15-foot, 1000-pound gator

    Alabama alligator hunter demolishes state record with 15-foot, 1000-pound gator

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:35:24 GMT
    A family battled a 1,000-pound alligator for more than five hours, putting several large hooks into the beast before firing a fatal shotgun blast into the gator's head.More >>
    A family battled a 1,000-pound alligator for more than five hours, putting several large hooks into the beast before firing a fatal shotgun blast into the gator's head.
    More >>
  • Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools

    Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools

    Monday, August 18 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-08-18 21:02:48 GMT
    The latest item to hit school ban lists are essential oils. Parents say these plant oils help their children suffering from seemingly most ailments from asthma to allergies. Jefferson County schools will not allow school nurses to administer them. Students cannot even keep them in lockers.More >>
    The latest item to hit school ban lists are essential oils. Parents say these plant oils help their children suffering from seemingly most ailments from asthma to allergies. Jefferson County schools will not allow school nurses to administer them. Students cannot even keep them in lockers.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Vulcan Park and Museum to host 10th concert series

    Vulcan Park and Museum to host 10th concert series

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-20 12:47:46 GMT
    Vulcan Park and Museum plans to offer the Vulcan® AfterTunes Concert Series on September 28, October 12 and October 26, 2014. More >>
    Vulcan Park and Museum plans to offer the Vulcan® AfterTunes Concert Series on September 28, October 12 and October 26, 2014. More >>
  • Firefighters battle house fire in Ensley

    Firefighters battle house fire in Ensley

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:12 AM EDT2014-08-20 12:12:44 GMT
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue is battling a house fire in the 2600 block of Ave S in Ensley.More >>
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue is battling a house fire in the 2600 block of Ave S in Ensley.More >>
  • Civil rights icon believes protesters in Ferguson, MO can learn from Birmingham

    Civil rights icon believes protesters in Ferguson, MO can learn from Birmingham

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:50 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:50:00 GMT
    People in the Magic City are holding protests and expressing concern for the situation in Missouri. Sarah Snyder spoke with a local civil rights icon - who hopes Birmingham can be an example to people in Ferguson. More >>
    People in the Magic City are holding protests and expressing concern for the situation in Missouri. Sarah Snyder spoke with a local civil rights icon - who hopes Birmingham can be an example to people in Ferguson. More >>
  • Carl Edwards to join JGR in 2015

    Carl Edwards to join JGR in 2015

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:08:24 GMT
    NASCAR's hottest free agent is off the board. Carl Edwards was introduced as the newest member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team on Tuesday."It means the world to me to have this opportunity and to be a part of this organization," Edwards said. "It'll be nice to finally talk about this."Rumor linked Edwards to JGR ever since he announced last month that he was ending his ten year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.Edwards will drive the No. 19 Toyota next season. It's the fourth piece to an impr...More >>
    NASCAR's hottest free agent is off the board. Carl Edwards was introduced as the newest member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team on Tuesday."It means the world to me to have this opportunity and to be a part of this organization," Edwards said. "It'll be nice to finally talk about this."Rumor linked Edwards to JGR ever since he announced last month that he was ending his ten year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.Edwards will drive the No. 19 Toyota next season. It's the fourth piece to an impr...More >>
  • Auburn's Patrick Young could miss season with knee injury

    Auburn's Patrick Young could miss season with knee injury

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:32 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:32:07 GMT
    Auburn's H-back position has taken an injury hit for the second consecutive week.Patrick Young suffered a serious knee injury last week, and he may not be available to play at all in 2014."Patrick Young, that was kind of a tough deal," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Patrick Young hurt his knee, a senior walk-on, a guy's that's really been phenomenal for our program and finally was in a spot where he was going to get a chance to help us." Malzahn announced last week that H-back Gage Batten is...More >>
    Auburn's H-back position has taken an injury hit for the second consecutive week.Patrick Young suffered a serious knee injury last week, and he may not be available to play at all in 2014."Patrick Young, that was kind of a tough deal," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Patrick Young hurt his knee, a senior walk-on, a guy's that's really been phenomenal for our program and finally was in a spot where he was going to get a chance to help us." Malzahn announced last week that H-back Gage Batten is...More >>
  • WATCH: Nick Saban, Alabama football team complete Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

    WATCH: Nick Saban, Alabama football team complete Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:58:10 GMT
    You know Nick Saban would never back down from a challenge, especially one that's for such a worthy cause.More >>
    You know Nick Saban would never back down from a challenge, especially one that's for such a worthy cause.More >>
  • 2 killed in helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County (update)

    2 killed in helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County (update)

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:15:41 GMT
    One of the two people killed in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County was an Alabama Power employee, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 33/40.More >>
    One of the two people killed in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County was an Alabama Power employee, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 33/40. More >>
  • Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

    Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:56:36 GMT
    Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Tuesday as he was booked on abuse of power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."More >>
    Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Tuesday as he was booked on abuse of power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."More >>