WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — With 79,000 miles of road to clean, North Carolina needs an innovative solution to its ever-growing roadside trash problem.
In 1998, the Department of Transportation (DOT) spent $47,000 on the Litter Picker. State engineers touted it as the innovative solution to the trash trouble.
However, the Litter Picker could not find a home. It started in Wake County, but engineers said it did not do a good enough job. It was then shipped to Wilson County, where engineers also said it was not up to the trash task. Almost six years later, the Litter Picker is in Johnston County.
When asked how many times he has used the Litter Picker, Transportation supervisor Randall Jackson said, "Five, six maybe seven times a year."
When asked about when he last used the "Litter Picker," DOT engineer James "Tank" Stewart said, "Maybe a year and a half ago."
Road crews said that the Litter Picker tends to tear up grass and needs wide, flat areas to operate safely. However, Johnston County's DOT crews said they will keep it around.
The device does not pick up smaller items, such as loose paper and empty cigarette packages.
The DOT said it has no plans to buy any more Litter Pickers.
The DOT's annual litter sweep starts next month. Look out for roadside volunteers carrying orange trash bags.