Operation Clean Sweep Begins This Week On Maryland’s Highways.

MDOT SHA urges motorists to look out of crews on the sides of the roads picking up litter.

Baltimore, Md (KM) The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will be tidying up the roadways this week. It’s Operation Clean Sweep which began on Monday, and will continue through this coming Friday.

“What this is is an ‘all hands on deck’ week where we have all of our maintenance crews go out and do a deep clean with litter and debris and that type of thing, and move it out of the way. We’re approaching the mowing season. The temperatures have been pretty moderate lately, so the grass is starting to grow. So we need get all of that litter out of there,” says MDOT SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar.

He says litter is not only unsightly, but it can be harmful to the state’s highways. “It can really affect our drainage system. So that  creates a driving hazard,” he says. “If water on the roadway or snow melt is not able to adequately  drain off the highway, that  puts drivers at risk for hydroplaning. That when you have no control over your vehicle.”

When encountering crews picking up litter along the sides of the roads, Gischlar urges motorists to slow down. “Litter removal is very dangerous because it’s putting crews out on the side of the roadways,” he says.

And that’s when they can get hit by motor vehicles. “Move over, slow down and pay attention. And make sure you park the cell phone and keep your concentration on the roadway,” he continues.

For those who are driving on roadways, or are a passenger, Gischlar urges you not to throw your trash and other debris out the windows. “Remember, litter is pollution,” he says. “So we’re asking people to please pitch litter where it belongs. Our kids, our youth are watching. The future generation of Marylanders are watching. So set a good example and put it in the trashcan. And make sure that if you have a load, it’s properly secured.”

MDOT SHA says over the past four years, it spend more than $42 million removing litter and debris from state roadways. During the last fiscal year, it says 364,077 bags of trash were collected along state-maintained roadways at cost of of $15 million. That’s the cost of 45 new dump trucks, and 60 miles of resurfaced roads, according to MDOT SHA.

By Kevin McManus