Litter pickup will increase in DeKalb County this summer, and Sheriff Patrick Ray said drivers need to be aware of the work zones for the safety of workers and themselves.
While the sheriff’s department has received a grant to fund litter pickup for many years, it only covers county roads in DeKalb. The sheriff said new funding will bring the jail’s pickup crew out more often.
"This year we have gotten an additional grant to pick up litter on state highways inside the county," Ray said. "The grant pays for three cycles of litter pickup each year, with an optional fourth cycle if needed. This grant has over 100 miles of listed state roadways. These roads are Sparta Highway, Nashville Highway, Cookeville Highway, McMinnville Highway, Keltonburg Road, Antioch Road, Belk Road, New Home Road, Short Mountain Highway, Murfreesboro Highway, Dale Ridge Road, Wolf Creek Road, Medley Amonette Road, Temperance Hall Road, and Lancaster Highway."
The sheriff said the work is on a tight schedule.
"We have 30 days to remove the litter from these state roads before the mowers arrive to cut the grass on the state rights of ways. We will be using inmate labor to pick up the trash on the state roads just like we do with our county roads litter grant," he said.
The sheriff would like to offer a few tips for motorists encountering upcoming litter pickup work zones.
•Always think orange. When you see orange signs, cones, or barrels, expect a roadside work zone ahead.
•Stay alert. Look for narrow driving lanes and highway workers ahead.
•Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you exactly what to expect ahead.
•Don't follow too closely. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.
•Minimize distractions. Drivers should keep their eyes on the roadway especially in a work zone.
•Do not talk on a cell phone or adjust your radio while in one of these zones.
•Slow down. You may encounter slowed or stopped traffic in an instant or encounter workers on or beside of the roadway.
"These simple tips could save your life or the life of a worker in one of the zones," Ray said.