Local Jurisdictions, Motorists Urged to Join Statewide Beautification Effort
(May 18, 2023) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is launching another major effort to beautify state highway roadsides through the state during the week of May 22 as part of
Operation Clean Sweep Maryland. The effort will consist of mowing and trimming, as well as litter and debris pick-up in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.
“The Memorial Day weekend is an important time for our state, because so many residents and visitors travel to spend time with family and friends,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “The men and women of our highway crews are working to keep our roads clean and safe, and we need everyone to do their part. Don’t litter, and please slow down, pay attention and move over when you see crews alongside the road or in any work zone. Let’s work together to make sure everyone makes it home safely.”
Left, before a recent litter and debris removal operation on US 29 at MD 108 in Howard County, and after, right. State Highway Administration photos.
The State Highway Administration performs litter and debris sweeps, as well as regular mowing operations as part of routine maintenance. Maintenance crews will be performing additional efforts in advance of high-travel holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and around the Thanksgiving holidays.
“Our crews are working hard to ensure our customers are traveling safely along litter-free and well-maintained roads,” said State Highway Administrator Tim Smith. “We ask that local jurisdictions partner with us as we prepare to welcome thousands of travelers during the upcoming holiday weekend.”
The State Highway Administration is increasing its annual maintenance budget more than 30% compared to last year to nearly $30 million to accommodate additional litter removal and mowing efforts. These additional efforts require hiring additional state employees to maintain the agency’s commitment and level of service.
Mowing operation on US 40 in Frederick County. State Highway Administration photos
Based on the unseasonably mild winter season, the State Highway Administration launched Operation Clean Sweep Maryland, which included an all-hands-on deck litter and debris removal effort, in late-February.
Annually, the agency collects approximately 5,300 dump truckloads of litter and debris at a cost of more than $7 million. Since the beginning of 2023, the State Highway Administration has already collected nearly 5,000 dump truckloads this year in less than five months.
In addition to hindering mowing and landscape efforts, litter threatens Maryland’s environmental resources. Trash and other debris can clog or damage drainage systems and ultimately pollute Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
Motorists are asked to remember that litter and mowing crews work directly adjacent to traffic. As the State Highway Administration continues its litter and mowing efforts, motorists should pay close attention and reduce speeds and distractions when traveling near work crews. Move over whenever possible when you see crews working on the shoulders.
The State Highway Administration appreciates citizens who have reported litter they see on our roadways, and urge others to report issues of litter and high grass on state roads by clicking
here or call 410-545-0300.