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HANNIBAL – As the flowers begin blooming on Missouri roadsides, the first sure sign of spring is the litter that can be seen along the highways. Thoughtless and illegal, littering yields a heavy burden of trash along highway throughout Missouri. MoDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, consisting of more than 3,700 groups statewide, are area residents, businesses and civic organizations who have volunteered to help rid the landscape of this eyesore. "Litter is always more visible in spring, that is why this time of year is the spring-cleaning for our roadways," said Chris Shulse, MoDOT’s District Roadside Manager.
Besides volunteers, some of the local judicial systems have recently started requiring lawbreakers to perform a specified number of hours of unpaid labor picking up trash along roadways. "People just pitch unwanted things out the window of their car, having forgotten that littering is against the law," Shulse added. The program teaches everyone to respect the land and our roadways.
Several counties, such as Clark, Marion, Monroe, Pike and Ralls Counties in northeast Missouri, have utilized the litter pickup program as a part of the offender’s "delegated reimbursement" to the community. People in trouble with the law that have to appear before the Clark County Associate and Municipal Courts are often assigned picking up trash as a community service. "The road and bridge crews for the state and county work hard," said Clark County Associate Judge John Moon. "It is nice that we can assist them in keeping our roadways clean," says Moon.
The money spent on litter cleanup could resurface many miles of roads and improve the habitat. "We want people to realize littering isn’t good for anyone," said Shulse. The local programs and volunteers make this a win situation for everyone.
If you have questions about area projects or other transportation issues in your area, please call MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll free at 1-888 ASK MODOT (275-6636) during normal business hours or visit the project website at www.modot.org/northeast.