SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – The Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works, along with nonprofits and community groups are making a joint effort to clean litter off the county’s roadways.

The volunteer effort is similar to Adopt-a-Highway programs where groups of volunteers remove trash from a particular road. Groups also may apply to clean a particular county road segment acceptable for cleaning by volunteers.

Some road segments will be restricted for safety reasons, including roads that are narrow, under construction or with high traffic volumes, restricted lines of sight, steep or rugged terrain or other conditions.

Volunteers will sign a release of liability form, Department of Transportation and Public Works spokesman Dan Virkstis said. Participants will get safety training on the proper use of barricades, signs, vests, trash grabbers and trash bags.

A designated group leader will make sure the litter gets to a landfill safely, Virkstis said.

Separate crews comprised of people on probation currently collect large items that are discarded illegally along the roads. The county also has a contracted hauler for roadside cleanups.

Virkstis said nonprofit groups have expressed interest in the volunteer cleanup program.

“It’s open for all groups to get involved. It’s needed countywide.

This is the first program established for this purpose,” he said.

He said the program also builds a sense of community. There are 1,380 miles of roads and 328 bridges in the 1,768-square-mile county.

“It’s an ongoing challenge to keep our roadsides clean,” Board of Supervisors Chair David Rabbitt said. “That’s why I’m pleased with the entrepreneurial spirit at TPW to craft a public-private partnership that makes a positive impact on pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers in our communities.”

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