Caltrans partners with Fresno, Fresno County to clean up highways

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Along Highway 41 the trash can pile up quickly.

We are seeing more homeless people setting up tents, partially hidden by trees and brush, along the corridor.

Caltrans says at least once a week it conducts sweeps to clean up areas.

"We are finding that a lot of the litter does come from abandoned camps essentially or illegal encampments. There's a lot of debris leftover, items such as broken chairs, paper debris, food debris," says Elizabeth Yelton of the Caltrans.

On Friday, workers surveyed an area and then removed several shopping carts where people had been living.

Yelton says there are several "hot spots" where crews have to remove camps that keep popping up.

"So CHP goes out, they let them know they are being notified to vacate the area. They're given 72 hours to remove items of value."

Caltrans has partnered with the City of Fresno and Fresno County on a pilot program to help clean up local highways.

The city of Fresno will have crews come out once a month to pick up trash next to the highway. Caltrans handles the highway cleanup because it is owned by the state.

"Caltrans has a special contractor on their own just to focus on those areas because often they do involve needles. There may be hazardous waste and materials involved. So the city's contractor will just be focused on the litter," says Public Works Director Scott Mozier.

$400,000 a year will be spent a year on the effort, half of which will come from Caltrans.

It's hoped the two-year program can clean up some of our problem areas on the highway.

It's not just Highway 41.

Caltrans has also identified several spots on Highway 99 and Highway 180 where encampments must be removed on a regular basis.
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