Roadside trash is costing taxpayers millions in Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -Millions of tax payer dollars are going to pick up trash like this along the highways every year in Ohio.

“It’s costing taxpayers about 4 million dollars every year for ODOT forces to go out and pick up this litter and it’s a very preventable cost,” said ODOT Press Secretary, Matt Bruning.

That’s 4 million dollars that could be used to improve to roads you drive on every day.

“We could use that money to buy additional snow plow trucks, place guardrail, we could pave a very long road with that,” said Bruning.

2 NEWS Investigates dug through the trash data and found since 2014 the amount of trash found in our area has gone up and so has the amount of money spent to pick it up.

“5-600 pounds of litter a day usually is what we pick up,” said Highway Technician, Greg Raines.

From tire parts to fast food cups, these crews spend hours every week keeping these roads clear. The state averages about 400 thousand bags of trash every year.

ODOT uses sheriff’s departments and inmates to help lighten that work load but it still doesn’t lighten the bill.

“We still pay those guard those inmates and monitor them so there is still a cost even for that,” said Bruning.

ODOT leaders said the only way to cut down on those costs is prevention and more people participating in their adopt-a-highway program.

Bruning said it’s also a great alternative to memorials on the side of the highway.

“Instead of erecting a small memorial that then potentially starts to look unsightly if it’s not maintained well or it’s in the way for our mowing crews. They actually opt to Adopt A Highway and then we put up a sign and put “in memory” of their loved one on the sign and it’s a great way to memorialize someone,” said Bruning.

For more information on the Adopt A Highway program click here: provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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