Fresno carpenters clean up
Local 701 adopts 1.7 miles of Highway 168
If you’re buzzing along Highway 168 out of Clovis, heading into the Sierra foothills, check out how clean the roadside is—for about 1.7 miles anyway. And be sure to watch for the Caltrans sign where the good folks of Local 701 in Fresno get some much-deserved credit.
"We did our first Adopt-A-Highway clean-up this summer," says Bill Reeves, Local 701 field representative," and hauled in 15 huge trash bags of garbage."
A few members of Local 701 launched the process of getting into the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program over a year ago, but the training and approval process takes awhile.
"Because Caltrans’ focus is on safety," Reeves says, "there are several stages of safety training. And volunteers can only go out on the road on the two-lane highways. When you see the four- and six-lane freeways being ‘adopted,’ it means somebody’s paying to have it cleaned by the state."
On the team’s first clean-up during the summer, they collected 15 huge bags of garbage.
Being do-it-yourselfers, the carpenters from Local 701 took the two-lane option, which meant that Reeves and Kayla Franklin, a Local 701 carpenter, attended a two-hour training with Caltrans. They then brought the training home to the local where they trained others at one of the local’s Saturday breakfasts.
"The way it works when you’re out there is you work in teams of two or three with one person as the lookout," Reeves explains. "Even a two-lane highway requires being alert and focused on safety at all times."
On the team’s second visit to their stretch of Highway 168, about two months after the first, they collected 12 of the huge bags of trash. Two months after that, they bagged nine. "You become really conscious of what a mess people can be," Reeves says.
Best of all though, says Reeves, "It’s been a great bonding experience for the members, and we know a lot of people appreciate that we did it. A lot of our members and a lot of Fresno residents go up that way into the mountains for vacations. It gives us a sense of pride."