Local News

Trash building up on North Carolina highways thanks to pandemic cutbacks

Posted January 28, 2021 5:50 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2021 9:08 p.m. EST

You may have noticed a lot of litter on the highways lately. Well, you're not alone.

Warren Lemarble, a Raleigh resident for 20 years, says it’s getting out of control. Not only is it dangerous but it’s visually distracting.

"It’s just very embarrassing for the city," Lemarble said. "It should be a lot cleaner; it’s never been like this. The Beltway was always very neat, always taken care of​."

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says they’ve had to cut some of the funding for trash pick up because of pandemic-related budget cuts.

"We typically do six litter sweeps a year and we had to cut that back to three," said Marty Homan, communications officer at the NCDOT. "I don’t know that people are littering more, but I do know that we haven’t been able to pick up as much, so that’s what the issue is, and that’s what we’re out doing now in the next couple of weeks."

Officials also respond to calls of debris piles, furniture, and appliances illegally dumped on city streets. The NCDOT says in the last few weeks they have started their first round of sweeps, but the community’s help is needed, now more than ever.

"If people aren’t using the roadside as their trashcan, we don’t have as big of an issue," Homan said. "If people are strapping down the loads before they hop on the highway, we wouldn’t have mattresses flying off and broken furniture and that sort of thing."

The city of Raleigh says people can call and report any trash or litter on highways or roads. If it’s a street or highway maintained by the NCDOT, city staff will forward those concerns.

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