A few of the 10 mattresses picked up along Highway 53 on April 19 by Caltrans maintenance crews as part of the agency's statewide Annual Litter Day . Caltrans photo

The North Coast’s highways are a bit cleaner these days, especially Highway 53 in Lake County.

The highway is only about 7.5 miles long, from Lower Lake to Clearlake Oaks. But Caltrans considers it the dirtiest highway in Lake and Mendocino counties.

So last Thursday, which was designated Caltrans’ statewide Annual Litter Day, it probably came as no surprise to the maintenance crews who went out to pick up litter and other garbage along 53 to discover 10 mattresses along the road. See photo above.

Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr. said officials believe Highway 53 gets more than its share of trash because it’s the route that people take to get to the Lake County dump in Clearlake.

Other than Highway 53, he said, Caltrans doesn’t really have much of a litter problem along Mendocino and Lake county highways.

Caltrans' Ukiah maintenance crew picks up litter along Highway 101 just south of Talmage Road on April 19. Caltrans photo

During Litter Day, Mendocino and Lake Caltrans crews picked up a total of 60 cubic yards of trash, including 10 cubic yards along Highway 29 in Lake County and 17 cubic yards along Highway 101 in Mendocino County. Sonoma County crews removed a total of 29 cubic yards of garbage from highways.

Frisbie said Lake and Mendocino counties’ Caltrans maintenance crews, which is eight teams with a total of 82 employees, all hit the highways to pick up litter.

He said Caltrans picked an Annual Litter Day to bring attention to the garbage left along the state’s highways and, hopefully, get people to stop littering.

Last year’s Litter Day removed 2,533 cubic yards of trash from highways statewide. Figures statewide for last week’s pickup were unavailable.

The Lakeport maintenance crew with some of the trash removed along Highway 29. Here they are just south of Kelseyville. Caltrans photo



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