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Due to a seemingly never-ending accumulation of trash along Highway 147, Lake Almanor East Shore residents Grant and Kim Holliday have taken it upon themselves to clear the area of debris.
According to the residents, a representative from Caltrans told them the area, which is located roughly 2 miles south of the Canyon Dam turnout, is too dangerous to allow concerned community members and organizations to maintain it through Caltrans’ Adopt-A-Highway Program.
Chester Caltrans supervisor Luke Mason confirmed that the area is not available for adoption through the program. He said that if people choose to maintain the section on their own, Caltrans would not be held liable for any injury that may occur.
He said, “We deem that area unsafe because it has no shoulder and steep drop-offs.”
As it stands, Mason said Caltrans workers might pick up trash along the highway if they are already working in the area; however, “that could only be once a year.”
He said the reason the cleanup is so seldom is because “we have such a small crew and such a big section that it is tough for us to hit everything.”
With true concern for the neglected area, the Hollidays made it part of their weekly schedule to walk along the road, picking up any loose material they come across.
During their July 22 walk, the couple filled several bags with trash, including cigarette butts, a milk carton, a tire rim and other miscellaneous items. They said it is not uncommon for them to end their walks with several bags full of trash, a big culprit usually being cigarette butts.
Not wanting praise for their selfless deed, the couple had little to say. They simply acknowledged that the work had to be done, and that they only wished to maintain the beauty of their surroundings.
Caltrans District 2 Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator Saedra Stallings said that out of the 10-mile stretch of highway, only 4 miles is permitted for adoption. Out of that 4 miles, the program only allows maintenance of vistas and turnouts that are wide and safe enough for a vehicle to pull over and safely clean up.
“There are certain criteria that have to be met in order for an area to be adoptable,” said Stallings.
Concurring with Mason’s statement about why the area is not adoptable, Stallings elaborated: “There are two particular items of criteria that pertain to Highway 147: Slopes need to be no greater than 40 degrees and there has to be 6 feet of dirt from the edge of the paved shoulder. When the area does not meet that, and other criteria, we do not make it available for adoption.”
She said that the space beyond the initial 6 feet of dirt is where people will be allowed to pick up litter and anything outside of the allowable cleanup area is the responsibility of the Chester maintenance crew.
“Because the shoulders are narrow, traffic control has to be set up in order to have enough safe clearance for our maintenance crews to conduct the work. Volunteers who pick up in adoptable areas are not permitted to do that.
“When you have an area like 147, the majority of spots are pretty narrow and traffic control does have to be set up,” said Stallings.
The 4-mile section of Highway 147 that has been designated for adoption is still available to any individuals, organizations or businesses that wish to help maintain the stretch of roadside.
For more information on how to adopt the section of highway, contact Stallings at 225-3277.
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