MOOSIC -- PennDOT crews preparing the highway for winter discovered more than just litter thrown on the side of the road.
It appears someone has been illegally dumping trash in the median of Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County.
PennDOT's highway crews have a lot of different jobs to do, especially this time of year. One of those involves cleaning the highways and picking up litter. This week, they found a lot of litter that needs to be cleaned up.
Someone has been illegally dumping trash in Moosic in a secluded part of a highway median.
It's a place where very few people ever set foot but PennDOT foreman Ted Stefanski knows this land very well. He met us in the median of Interstate 81 in Moosic where PennDOT crews recently discovered piles and piles of garbage bags, trashed household items, and discarded office supplies.
"You see an occasional small spot where they're dumping but not this bad," Stefanski said.
After finding the illegal dumping spot, PennDOT is now keeping a closer eye on its traffic cam that could show someone leaving trash in the median.
"We've never had a situation where somebody had the audacity to go in an area like this where there are 80,000 cars a day that go right through here, and to pull down here and dump this much garbage right in the middle of the busiest section of the busiest interstate in all of northeastern Pennsylvania," said PennDOT official James May.
Stefanski saw the stuff while he was driving by. The brush may have concealed it for a while. Now he says there's so much, it's hard to miss.
"I was surprised how much garbage and household trash that was back here. They've been dumping quite a bit. We believe the people are accessing it from the tracks," Stefanski said.
The land connects to a railroad bridge and PennDOT may close off that access.
For now, highway crews plan to bring heavy equipment in, hoping to have it all cleaned before the first big snowfall.
"We don't want to leave this here, so we want to clean this up and get out to the public, if anybody sees anything or suspicious activity going on, maybe they can contact state police in Dunmore and maybe we can get a tip and try and catch these people who are dumping here," Stefanski added.
Leaving trash in the median is against the law but since that land is considered PennDOT's right of way on Interstate 81, cars aren't even supposed to be there, and PennDOT officials say it could be dangerous.