Trash buildup at Albuquerque interchanges causing problems

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve been on a walk, run or even drive around town, you might have noticed there’s trash piling up in some very busy places, especially around the interchanges.

Both the city and the state said keeping those areas clean should be a priority. The city and the state work together to keep these visible spots clean, but they’re having trouble keeping up with all the litter.

“Somebody just needs to get rid of it, get on it,” said Ed Stewart. Stewart is new to town, but he’s already noticing things that need some improvement.

“I think it’s awful,” said Stewart. “It does not reflect well on your city.”

He’s referring to the litter and sadly, it’s almost everywhere. It’s in the streets, in the bushes and it’s easy to find.

Take Louisiana Boulevard in Uptown for example. In just two blocks, trash littered the sidewalks and when KRQE News 13 got closer to the I-40 interchange, the trash got worse.

It’s the city’s responsibility to take care of litter on most streets, but whose job is it to take care of the mess in these gray areas where city streets meet a highway overseen by the Department of Transportation?

“They may not know who to call. Do we call the state? Do we call the city?” said NM DOT spokesperson Marisa Maes on the phone. “So if they do call the state, we try not to play the ‘that’s mine, that’s yours.’ We try to work together.”

To avoid that kind of problem, the city and the NM DOT came up with an agreement years ago to work together.

“What we do is we contact NM DOT and we work hand-in-hand with them, and then we get somebody out there, whether it’s us or them, or we go together where areas are addressed,” said CABQ Solid Waste Director Matthew Whelan.

A good example is a city worker who was cleaning up along Rio Grande by I-40 interchange Tuesday. Although, the DOT said it’s difficult to keep up with the litterbugs and homeless who hang out in those spots. People who KRQE News 13 spoke to don’t want to hear excuses.

“I love the southwest and that’s why I moved out here,” said Stewart. “But I would like to see somebody clean it up.”

The New Mexico Department of Transportation said part of the agreement with the city to help clean up those interchanges involves sending workers, equipment, even money to the city when it needs help. The DOT also said sometimes it doesn’t know about a litter problem unless it gets a tip. The best way to notify someone is through the city’s 311.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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