Road Maintenance Includes Keeping Up With Litter

One person’s trash may be another one’s treasure, but for St. Johns County road crews it’s all part of a day’s work.

During a briefing to county commissioners, Public Works Director Greg Caldwell said in addition to regular road work, crews pick up a ton of trash every week along St. Johns County roads.

With good transportation networks a critical part of economic development efforts, as well as improving the quality of life for residents, the effort is important.

“As part of our mowing campaign and roadside litter campaign, we pick up 52 tons of trash annually,” he said. “We pick up litter not only because we want to keep St. Johns County beautiful, we want to protect our equipment, so it also helps protect our infrastructure. It all works together.”

That’s especially important with all the active transportation projects underway in the county.

Caldwell said more than 10 miles of roadway improvements are actively underway, including work on Longleaf Parkway, which is expanding to four lanes from Veterans Parkway to Roberts Road. He said the project has been underway for about a year.

“The expectation is that paving will commence in the middle of July,” he said, and expected to be completed in November.

As part of the project, a new signal is being installed at Shetland Drive.

“This is going to be a major improvement for the area and something the community has been requesting for some time,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell also highlighted projects on County Road 210 both east and west, and the central segment of work on County Road 2209. For that last project, improvements in front of Tocoi High School are being expedited so they are finished before the new school year begins.

After Caldwell finished his presentation Commissioner Krista Joseph said she wanted to go back to the litter issue he raised, asking if it was possible to contextualize the amount of litter collected.

“It’s like 45 elephants,” Caldwell said. “We tried to come up with something that rationalizes what it looks like. It’s a lot. It fills up a big area. It’s astounding how much they pick up.”

Caldwell said the Public Works Department strives to get information to the public about littering as often as possible “to try to make sure more people understand how they can reduce the litter in St. Johns County.”