Tons of trash to be cleaned from Syracuse Interstates

More traffic delays on 81 and 690, as a litter pickup campaign gets underway on Syracuse highways

A crackdown on littering started Monday morning in Syracuse, with a graphic demonstration of how bad the trash is, along Interstates 81 and 690 in the city.

Representatives of the State DOT, Onondaga County Highway Department and the Syracuse DPW, along with law enforcers, showed off the three TONS of trash collected in just the two mile stretch of 690 between Teall Avenue and Thompson Road.

There are 17 miles of interstate within the city of Syracuse, and they will all be policed by highway crews.

"There was a day, about 4 or 5 years ago, when there was a contract that was put out." This according to State Senator Dave Valesky (D-49th District), who is also part of the cleanup coalition. "A million dollar a year contract for private haulers to come in and do this. We don't have the money with the budget deficits we're facing. So we've gotten creative and are working in a collaborative fashion, and the highways are getting picked up."

The campaign is creating some concerns, about expense, and about safety. 'It costs money to all the taxpayers and every entity of governmetn is now short money," says Syracuse DPW head Peter O'Connor. "It's a safety issue and it's a bad reflectionon your community." The concern is about the workers who have to be on highway shoulders as cars speed by.

So, there are portable 'delay' signs being set up as the cleanups occur. Expect slowdowns, just as you're seeing this summer in construction zones.

And, in addition to the cleanup, there will also be a crackdown. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick and Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh were both in the group announcing the campaign. Littering will get you a $350 fine, and 10 hours community service. Possibly alongside the highway, picking up trash.