Commissioner Fox calls for motorists to do their part by not littering
(Hamilton) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Jamie Fox today announced a statewide campaign to beautify New Jersey’s highways by cleaning up litter and graffiti as the busy summer tourist season begins.
NJDOT maintenance crews, who have been busy repairing potholes after another harsh winter, will now turn their attention to picking up trash and removing graffiti with a renewed focus on the important job of improving the appearance of New Jersey roadways.
“You only get one change to make a first impression,” Commissioner Jamie Fox said. “Our highways create a lasting image for residents and visitors, and to ensure everyone who chooses to vacation in New Jersey this summer has a positive experience, NJDOT crews are embarking on a campaign to clean every shoulder, median, and ramp along 2,300 miles of state highways.”
Since 2010, when NJDOT created our ‘Clean Up NJ’ initiative, our crews have employed a tactic that focuses multiple maintenance functions along a single corridor to take care of all needs at once, from picking up litter, mowing grass, trimming trees and bushes, fixing guiderail, filling potholes and covering up graffiti. Within days, the targeted corridor is transformed. We do this several times a year in all three regions of the state.
The Department spends about $2.5 millions each year to pick up trash and clean graffiti. NJDOT crews and Department of Corrections inmates have collected about 10,500 tons of litter along state highways since FY2013. That’s 21 million pounds of trash – enough to bury an entire football field to a depth of 25 feet. In addition to picking up trash, each year NJDOT removes about 25,000 square yards of graffiti.
For the past four years, NJDOT has enlisted the help of the Department of Corrections, which provides 100 inmates split up into 10 crews of 10 inmates to pick up litter and perform close-cutting with weed wackers near sign posts and guiderails. In 2014, the inmate program picked up 68,000 bags of litter totaling 1.4 million pounds of trash.
Another way New Jersey keeps its roads clean is the Adopt-A-Highway program. It is a comprehensive, statewide, volunteer program created by the NJDOT and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council to encourage volunteers to clean and maintain state highways.
There are nearly 50 businesses and community organizations that are in the process or already have adopted a portion of a state highway. Organizations receive safety training and are responsible for cleaning the segment of highway four times a year for two years. For more information, go to the Clean Up NJ! Page on NJDOT’s website.
“NJDOT wants to lead by example by providing attractive roads for summer travelers, but every resident and every visitor has a role to play as well,” Commissioner Fox said. “Motorists and pedestrians can help New Jersey beautiful every time they choose to put litter in its proper place, instead of tossing it out a car window or dropping it on a sidewalk. I ask everyone to join us and take pride in our great state.”
Every hour that NJDOT crews spend picking up after those who choose to litter is an hour that could have been spent making other improvements to the highways, such as filling potholes, fixing guiderails, trimming trees or removing graffiti. Litter can clog storm drains and create potentially dangerous flash-flood conditions along roadways.
To report a roadway maintenance issue on a state highway, motorists can call 1-800-POTHOLE or click on the Highway Maintenance Reporting button on the NJDOT homepage at www.nj.gov/transportation