Commuters traveling on the Eastshore Freeway between Emeryville and Berkeley have surely noticed the trash laying around the sides of the interstate from nearby homeless encampments, some of which has made it into the path of traffic.
Listen to the latest episode of "Bay Current" below.
Recently, Caltrans has begun clean-up efforts to remove the hazards along I-80 – a project largely sparked by the reporting of KCBS Radio's Matt Bigler.
"Homeless folks have been living there for some time. They create a lot of garbage, some of that trash ends up on the freeways," Bigler said on Wednesday's "Bay Current" podcast. "We have received complaints from drivers who say the garbage is getting onto the onramps. For example, shopping carts will roll down, and drivers have to swerve to avoid those to get on the freeway. That's a major problem."
Bigler decided to do a story on the trash build-up where he scoped out the garbage scattered on the freeway, and he saw shopping carts, tarps, debris and tents all around the highway.
He reached out to Caltrans for comment on the story and, after a long delay, they finally responded.
"We were told by Caltrans 'We will do a litter abatement blitz along I-80 to take care of this stuff.' As a result of doing this story, something is finally happening," he explained.
He said that the issue of cleaning up the encampments is complicated, but Caltrans is currently focusing on the trash that creates traffic hazards. The agency is also considering adding fencing to sections of I-80 to decrease the amount of trash that reaches the freeway.