Tough winter leaves behind garbage `eyesore` on I-290 - FOX 32 News Chicago

Tough winter leaves behind garbage `eyesore` on I-290

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Nothing says spring like trash on the road. The snow is gone, and the garbage is left. The complaints have been fast and furious.

The shoulders of the Eisenhower are littered with garbage and debris. The clean-up is underway, but the eyesore is not gone just yet.

Parts of the Eisenhower Expressway look more like a landfill.

Welcome to Chicago.

"It's kind of nasty for all the other people coming from other states to see Chicago," one driver says.

Jae Miller of the Illinois Department of Transportation says the long, snowy winter has hampered the agency's ability to clean the embankments along the expressways and delayed by two weeks the seasonal crews that tackle the winter's mess.

"It's pretty much been building up," Miller explains. "It was a really tough winter and we weren't able to get under the snow. things were frozen. we have noticed an increase in litter."

Just this week teams of IDOT pickers have started spearing the paper and other refuse littering the sides of the highways. They've been supplemented by 25 seasonal snow plow drivers who are being kept on to help pick up the trash.

With so much garbage to pick up, it's a slow-moving process. these crews are able to cover about a half mile of expressway every day.

While the pickers are tackling all Chicago area expressways, they're paying special attention to the Eisenhower, which because of its canyon-like design seems to attract a lot more garbage than any other roadway--though drivers have other theories.

"290's way worse than 94," a driver tells FOX 32. "94 seems to be a lot cleaner than 290 [because of the] airport and tourists. You want to have the road where tourists come in clean."

Today also marks the beginning of Adopt-A-Highway spring cleanup, with 10,000 volunteers representing 1,700 groups pitching in statewide.

IDOT hopes to have the roads looking better for earth day next week.

"We're really anxious to get out there and get the roadways clean," Miller says. "We know it's an eyesore, so it's a priority for the department."

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