PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Traffic volume on Route 476-- the Blue Route-- near the Lima exit south to I-95 is actually down by more than 10% over the past five years. But the trash lining this once pristine highway? That's up. Way up. And drivers see it.
"It's definitely an eyesore," one man told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "It seems like people just throw trash out the window. Whether it's cigarette butts or fast food trash."
"I do notice it lately," said a woman nearby. "There's been a lot more trash there."
We saw all kinds of trash lining the embankments and center median of 476 when we drove up and down the southern stretch Tuesday afternoon. There were the usual fast food cups, auto repair supplies, discarded clothing-- even a porno DVD. Really?
"I know who is supposed to be cleaning it up because I pay them with my taxes!" said one man when asked about the apparent lack of clean up along 476.
In fact, PennDot spends $3.5 million a year picking up trash along its extensive network of roads in our region.
And along 11 miles of the Blue Route, businesses pay a company to clean up in return for getting their signage in front of all those motorists. But that program only runs from March to October. And PennDot expends its energy on snow removal and pothole repairs this time of year. That means this stretch of 476 could go most of the winter with only one or two cleanings.
John Krafczyk is in charge of maintenance for PennDot in our region:
"It's a matter of working with the resources we have here and do I want to start siphoning off the resources we use for repaving to go pick litter when I pick it and two weeks later it looks the same."
Krafczyk admits trash pick up is a "losing battle," but insists "we haven't given up entirely."
Maybe not, but some drivers have now gotten so accustomed to seeing trash along the Blue Route, they barely pay attention anymore.