Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2018, 11:21 AM
Chip Addis can’t stand the trash along the Blue Route and I-95.
He has written to state legislators, posted pictures on PennDot’s Facebook page, and even complained to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
“Trash along the curbs is just sort of accepted, and nobody even seems to really be that concerned about it,” said Addis, 54, who lives in Radnor and takes the Blue Route to get to his kids’ volleyball and lacrosse games, and I-95 for family vacations to Maryland. “It sends a message we don’t really care about what this place looks like.”
Similar to Philadelphia, where residents’ complaints to 311 about trash have surged, PennDot has witnessed a spike in drivers’ complaints about trash in the five-county region.
PennDot spends millions each year removing litter from its highways. The cleanups statewide cost $12.6 million between July 2016 and June 2017, and $5.6 million of that — nearly half — was spent in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties and Philadelphia counties. (It costs $5.6 million to repave 19 miles of state roads.)
If you’re frustrated, well, so is PennDot.
“Litter on our roadways is a never-ending problem,” spokesman Bob Kent said. “Within two weeks of cleaning a heavily traveled expressway, such as I-95 or I-476, drivers cannot even tell the work was performed.”
Kent tied the surge in complaints to people becoming more cognizant of how to report trash. He also said drivers are more likely to file complaints if they see that the trash gets picked up.
Addis and other Philly.com readers sent photos of what they encounter on the region’s highways:
PennDot spent four times the amount of money cleaning litter and debris in Philadelphia’s five-county district than in Pittsburgh’s three-county district from July 2016 to June 2017. (Philly’s district has three times the population of Pittsburgh’s.)
PennDot decides where — and how quickly — to respond based on factors such as the size of the mess and the volume of safety-related issues like potholes, which take precedence over litter. The agency manually removes litter building up on the sides of roads and, in Philadelphia, has trucks sweep highway shoulders four days a week.
To file complaints about trash with PennDot, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD or go to customercare.penndot.gov.