ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Transportation removes two to three homeless encampments per week from CDOT property. Crews say they remove several tons of trash and debris with each encampment.
CDOT said the encampments can cause safety issues, damage to public structures and unsanitary conditions that create a hazard to the public. Crews cleaned up one of the encampments in Adams County on Tuesday.
CDOT crews cannot remove trespassers without police support and works with local law enforcement to humanely remove trespassers. CDOT property is located across Colorado.
CDOT places “No Trespassing” signs on the property seven days before the cleanup. According to CDOT, local law enforcement serves eviction notices in the encampment before crews come in to cleanup. Crews wear protective gear, including hard hats, vests, puncture and cut resistant gloves, and potentially dust masks, to retrieve used syringes, collect human waste, and use dump trucks to remove garbage and biohazardous materials.
Around $2 million to $3 million of CDOT’s total maintenance budget is spent on the encampment cleanups and removal. Between July 2018 to April 2019, a total of 51 cleanups happened. One cleanup in September 2018 cost nearly $12,000.
CDOT said the encampments will typically need to be cleaned up again as trespassers move into the areas that have been cleaned up. They clean up the areas to clear walkways of bushes and overgrown vegetation, maintain the structural integrity of bridges and keep them safe from fires and other damage, remove environmental hazards of debris, including needles, human waste, drug paraphernalia and propane tanks, for the safety of the traveling public.