Monday, January 25, 2016

Dearborn Litter Program Chosen for INDOT Project

Dearborn litter program chosen for INDOT project

Dearborn County's Anti-Litter Initiative will act as a pilot project for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to help determine the effectiveness of "Do Not Litter" signs on state highways.

Dearborn County is in the process of installing signs on county roads as part of its anti-litter effort, which began when Beacon newspaper publisher Celeste Calvitto approached County Commissioners last year about a litter clean-up and awareness program. 

Commissioners appointed an Anti-Litter Committee consisting of Ms. Calvitto, chairwoman; Molly Resendes, educator at the Dearborn County Solid Waste Management District (DCSWMD); and Todd Listerman, County Engineer.  The Beacon donated $4,000 for 100 signs on county roads. When the county signage began to be installed, several residents inquired about signage for state roads in Dearborn.

Ms. Calvitto contacted State Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, and offered to contribute $4,000 to INDOT for signs. INDOT accepted the donation and placed the first signs in early December. This was facilitated by Rep. Frye and Becky Gross, Seymour District Technical Services Director.

"INDOT has not placed Do Not Litter signs on state highways for years," Ms. Gross said. "It will be interesting to determine if the signs make a difference."  Ms. Gross explained that INDOT maintenance "codes their time and a quantity to activities such as litter."  "We can compare the amount of litter or time spent prior to the signs installed to after the signs' installation," she said. "If it is a success, then it would allow INDOT’s maintenance crews to concentrate more on the road.  Plus, it would act as a pilot project to allow us to determine the cost benefits of placing signs on other state routes to diminish the amount of litter."  

Both the county and INDOT signs warn of a possible $1,000 fine for littering under state law.  As of early January, more than half of the county's 100 No Littering signs were installed, Mr. Listerman said.  Most were in the northern part of the county.  INDOT had placed 26 of 80 signs as of early January. State Routes 1 and 46 were finished, Ms. Gross said.

“Keeping Indiana’s roads clean and attractive is a high priority for me," Rep. Frye, a member of Roads and Transportation Committee, said. "Dearborn's initiative is helping Indiana to look at ways to do that, and I applaud The Beacon for their generous gift to assist in this effort.”

Shane McHenry, president of the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners, said, "This is a great example of one of the many things that I love about Dearborn County.  We are never short on citizens who step up and do what it takes to make our county a great place to live.  I can’t thank The Beacon, our committee members and our citizens who have volunteered their time enough. I look forward to continuing this team effort to help keep our county clean.” 
The signs are one step in a number of actions as part of the anti-litter effort, including roadside clean-ups, litter prevention and education, and recycling.

The committee selected roads in each quadrant of the county for initial roadside clean-ups conducted by Southeast Indiana Community Corrections crews last October -- Arlington Road, West County Line Road, Chesterville Road, Lawrenceville Road, Legion Road and North Dearborn Road from State Line to State Route 1. 

"Those roads were chosen because they did not require closure for clean-up activity," Ms. Calvitto said. "For safety reasons, difficult roads such as Jamison and Sand Run in the Bright area, and State Line Road near Hidden Valley will need to be closed at least partially. We are working to make that happen in the spring." 
Litter prevention is part of the education component. Ms. Resendes will oversee the placement of 96 steel drums at various locations, and is working with schools and 4H clubs to decorate them. Half the cost of the receptacles, or $3,500, will come from DCSWMD. The Beacon will donate the remaining $3,500. 

Photo caption

On State Route 1 north of St. Leon, site of the first INDOT anti-litter sign in Dearborn County,  are Beacon  publisher Celeste Calvitto, chairwoman of the Dearborn County Anti-Litter Initiative; State Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg; and Ronnie Miller and Steve Cooke from INDOT.

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