The fight against litter along Arizona’s highways has received some reinforcements recently, and more manpower is on the way. But when those extra hands will make it to Lake Havasu City is still up in the air.
State officials confirmed on Wednesday that Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry inmate work crews have started to resume litter removal and landscaping duties along state highways, performed as part of an intergovernmental agreement with the Arizona Department of Transportation. The Department of Corrections suspended all outside work programs in March 2020 as a safety precaution during the pandemic. During the 15 months that the inmate program was suspended, there have been reports of growing amounts of trash and litter along many state highways, including State Route 95 through Lake Havasu City.
The Department of Corrections announced on July 9 that it would resume its inmate work programs as part of phase II of its reopening plan. Bill Lamoreaux with the Department of Corrections said on Wednesday that teams from Lewis, Perryville, Tucson, Winslow and Yuma are already back in action.
Meanwhile, additional crews in Safford and Tucson are going through training before the inmates return to work along the highway. Lamoreaux said ADCRR and ADOT are also working to get the crews out of Kingman and Phoenix West back up and running as quickly as possible.
“The exact timing and location for deployment of crews depends largely on training schedules, inmate availability, finalizing the necessary paperwork, proximity to a prison complex and other factors that may be out of ADOT’s control,” ADOT Assistant Communication Director Doug Nick said “Efforts are underway to resume inmate work in Mohave County, including Lake Havasu City, but we do not have a timeframe yet.”
Nick said the inmate crew that conducts multiple cleanup efforts along State Route 95 through Lake Havasu City each year is based out of the Arizona State Prison in Kingman. He said ADOT is currently in the process of resuming its agreement with the prison in Kingman.
“ADOT intends to get the crews back on the job as soon as possible,” he said. “The agency is making the arrangements and finalizing the necessary agreements between ADCRR, ADOT and local authorities such as the county and municipalities.”