UDOT launches voluntary trash cleanup program to keep Utah beautiful

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox helped the Utah Department of Transportation launch its new “Keeping Utah Beautiful” trash cleanup program by helping clean up some roads in Salt Lake County.

The governor and more than a dozen UDOT maintenance workers gathered Thursday at the corner of Mountain View Corridor and State Route 201 to help clean up the trash. Wearing safety vests and gloves, the governor and workers filled three trucks with trash bags as they cleaned up the area.

“You found something I’m good at,” Cox joked. “I can pick up trash, so it will be a very good day.”

Lisa Wilson, deputy director of UDOT, said the department spends about $2.3 million on trash cleanup each year because “nobody likes to see trash on the side of the road.” She pointed out that trash detracts from the state's beauty and poses a security risk.

“We all agree that trash is a problem in our state, but we can solve it together,” she said. “It will be a collective effort and it will start with each and every one of us doing our part.”

UDOT's maintenance workers are tasked with cleaning the streets every day, but this new initiative will be a great “complement” to those workers who work hard to keep the streets clean, Wilson said. She explained that the program has been piloted over the past few months and is now open to the public so anyone can sign up.

“This new program will make it easier than ever for Utahns to pitch in and help keep our streets clean,” Wilson said.

Gov. Spencer Cox and UDOT maintenance workers clean up trash from the Mountain View Corridor and State Route 201 on Thursday.
Gov. Spencer Cox and UDOT maintenance workers clean up trash from the Mountain View Corridor and State Route 201 on Thursday. (Photo: Cassidy Wixom,

Volunteers must be at least 14 years old to participate in Keeping Utah Beautiful. Youth groups, service groups, families or anyone interested in volunteering can register on UDOT's website, submit an application with the number of volunteers, contact information and desired date, then receive an email with the details of the planned cleanup.

UDOT officials said volunteers will not clean highways and some state highways for safety reasons.

The governor said this program is perfect for Utah because Utahns are always so willing to serve.

“We just want to make a call to good-hearted Utahns everywhere to remind them: One, don’t litter, and two, sign up to help us clean our streets,” he said.

The governor discussed a new partnership between UDOT and the Department of Corrections to provide waste disposal opportunities for volunteers living in traditional housing in Salt Lake City. He said that program had a five-day trial period, but due to its success and continued interest from probation officers, it will continue.

“We live in the most beautiful state in the country and it is a place we are proud of and want to keep it that way,” Cox said.

Wilson said the Keeping Utah Beautiful initiative is easier for people to get involved than its predecessor, the Adopt-a-Highway program, because it is more flexible and accessible.

Although this program will replace Adopt-a-Highway, businesses can still participate in the Sponsor a Highway program, where they hire a professional trash cleanup company to work along the highways.

Anna Harden

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