GETTING ANSWERS: Who’s responsible for cleaning up litter on I-20?

Litter can be seen all along I-20 in the Shreveport area.
Litter can be seen all along I-20 in the Shreveport area.(KSLA)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Driving along I-20, you’ve probably seen things like old tire, bumpers, trash and even appliances. Some people are wondering why there’s so much litter on the interstate, and who’s responsible for picking it up.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says in general, it’s everyone’s responsibility to not litter and to pick up litter where it’s safe.

“The answer to whose responsibility it is is not just one answer. Obviously, the Department of Transportation here, we own and maintain the interstate system, but we don’t have dedicated litter crews. We don’t have crews that specifically go and and pick up trash every day. We’re not the trash company. Our focus should be on maintaining our roadways, but unfortunately, we have to spend over $9 million a year as a department on resources that are put toward litter removal,” said Erin Buchanan, a representative with DOTD for the Shreveport-Bossier area.

For Shreveport, the Public Works Department spent $7,464,400 in it’s streets and drainage division last year.

DOTD owns and helps maintain the interstates, including some of the cleaning.

“We do not have crews dedicated to picking up trash, we can’t pickup trash everyday.... Municipals have an agreement for I-20,” said Buchanan.

Litter can be seen all along I-20 in the Shreveport area.
Litter can be seen all along I-20 in the Shreveport area.(KSLA)

She says some of the reasons why there is such a buildup of litter is due to travelling.

“There’s a lot of traveling on this interstate, trucks with open tarps, and as quick as we clean up litter it comes back. So, first we need to stop self littering,” she said.

In a statement, the City of Shreveport said they have “a contractor that picks up litter every two weeks on the grass portions of I-20, the contractors also hire staffing to do so.”

The City of Bossier City said, “employees from the Public Works Department are responsible for the clean up along I_20, and they’re evaluating the current plan for litter pick-up, and making adjustments as needed.”

DOTD has a volunteer program called Adopt-A-Road, to remove litter and debris off state and federal roadsides. Click here for more information.

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