September. 24, 2012
CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Nevada Department of Transportation implemented public litter removal programs in 1990. Since then, the programs have grown in popularity and have helped NDOT save time and money while also maintaining the aesthetics of state highways. According to a recent internal analysis, NDOT’s business-supported Sponsor-A-Highway litter removal program annually saves the department $500,000.
The Sponsor-A-Highway program allows firms and organizations to pay a contractor to remove litter on urban freeways and highways in the Las Vegas and Reno areas. Interested parties can choose from three contractors approved by NDOT and prequalified for litter removal.
This public-private partnership provides NDOT with licensed and insured contractors whose workers have the proper equipment, vehicles and training to safely conduct litter removal on the shoulders of busy freeways and highways. Segments are sponsored for two years and are cleaned twice a month.
The program works like this: A firm or organization selects a contractor, works with the contractor to select an available, one-mile stretch of freeway and then pays that entity for litter removal. In return, the firm receives an informational sign in on the freeway/highway right of way, commemorating its sponsorship.
Litter removal contractors currently sponsor 188 of 250 available one-mile shoulder segments in Southern Nevada, according to NDOT’s Privatized Litter Removal Program Plan. Zappos.com is the state’s biggest Sponsor-A-Highway sponsor, with nearly 86 percent of contractually sponsored segments in Southern Nevada.
“NDOT doesn’t have enough crews and equipment to do the litter removal as frequently as the contractors,” said Ed Wilson, NDOT Customer Services supervisor. “The hourly cost of a typical three-man crew with a one ton haul truck is $85 per hour.”
“There are 220 working days each year, excluding weekends and holidays,” Wilson said. “Based on these assumptions, we can say that we avoid nearly $500,000 each year in maintenance costs. Southern Nevada has a thriving program. When the economy improves, we hope to expand the program to additional areas of the state.”
NDOT also runs a separate Adopt-A-Highway program, which allows non-political organizations, corporations, volunteer groups and individuals to participate in maintaining and enhancing Nevada’s highways through community service at no cost to the group. The program is designed to be fun and educational and to promote civic responsibility and community spirit.