Who is cleaning up the trash on our freeways?

Who is cleaning up the trash on our freeways? »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Bakersfield has been called an All-American City. But, lately, when viewer Donald Kurtz says he drives down the freeways in the city, he feels like he is driving through a third-world country.

"What I saw is just not Bakersfield. Someone has to be responsible for this," Kurtz said.

Kurtz said he sees plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and plastic bags littered all over the place. He got so frustrated with what he saw that he wrote a letter to Mayor Harvey Hall and officials at the California Department of Transportation. Officials at Caltrans said the problem is due to budget cuts.

"We're no longer able to contract with the prison system in order to get the inmate crews to clean up the freeways," Caltrans public information officer Tami Cornado said.

Due to the contact that no longer exists, Caltrans workers will have to clean up themselves. But this time of year, freeway cleanup isn't on the top of the list.

"Because it is the summer months, it is a prime opportunity for maintenance to do pavement work and landscape work along the freeways," Cornado said.

However, they are working out a plan to get some of the freeways cleaner.

"Kern County Sheriff's Office and Cal Fire do have a contact with inmate crews. Our folks are working with them to see if any of the freeway areas can be cleaned up, as well," Cornado said.

Caltrans is working to get its contract back by January. But, in the meantime, Cornado said that the public can do their part by utilizing the Adopt-a-Freeway program.