Sentinel staff report–
Homeless encampments, litter, and shrubs along Antelope Road at Interstate 80 were cleaned up on Wednesday by Caltrans crews in partnership with the City of Citrus Heights and the California Highway Patrol.
Citrus Heights police posted several in-progress and after photos on social media on Sept. 21, saying the cleanup occurred after the city reached out to CHP and Caltrans. Due to its proximity to on-ramps for Interstate 80, the city said collaboration with Caltrans was necessary.
During a Sept. 22 council meeting, City Manager Ashley Feeney showed photos of the cleanup, including one showing where steps had been carved out in the dirt near one homeless camp.
“It was a significant cleanup, it took a lot of work,” said Feeney. “There was a lot of hands on deck on this one and I just really appreciate our team that was working on this.”
Councilman Bret Daniels took several minutes during the council meeting to praise the city manager and staff for helping get the interchange area cleaned up, saying it is “incredibly frustrating” to have land in Citrus Heights where the city doesn’t have control, referring to areas near the freeway.
“What we saw happen over there was just disgusting,” said Daniels. “That’s not what we’re going to tolerate.”
The collaborative cleanup followed a strategic planning meeting in May where jurisdictional coordination was discussed to address fringe areas of the city and areas near I-80 under Caltrans jurisdiction, Feeney said. A meeting with Caltrans was subsequently held to discuss the city’s vision and areas of focus for collaboration.
Police Chief Alex Turcotte and General Services Director Regina Cave also worked with regional managers in the area, and those efforts “paid dividends this week,” Feeney told the council.
Moving forward, Feeney said “the good news is it wasn’t a one-time pony here; we’re talking about having better coordination in the future.”
“Will additional camps pop up? Sure,” he said. “But if we’re coordinated in our efforts, we can do a better job in how we manage that to ensure we don’t get to a state like this again.”