RIDOT, RISP And R.I. Resource Recovery Join Forces To Reduce Litter On Highways

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.