Kitsap announces cleanups for Gorst, highway ramps

The Gorst corridor of State Route 3, considered to be the dirtiest segment of highway in Kitsap County, will receive a cleanup from litter crews April 21.

The state Department of Transportation will temporarily close the right lane on the south- and west-bound side of the road between Highway 304 and the railroad overpass to conduct the cleanup along with county employees. Drivers will be limited to the left lane from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are being asked to plan accordingly.

The cleanup has been advocated for, county officials say, since October. WSDOT authorized funding this month for the cleanup.

Kitsap will also use a $60,000 grant from the state Department of Ecology to conduct highway ramp cleanups pending permits from WSDOT. A statewide litter study published in 2023 shows highways ramps contain the highest concentration of litter in the state in comparison to rural and urban roads, rest areas and park lands.

Christopher Piercy, senior program manager for Kitsap’s Solid Waste Division, said: “Highways act as the welcome mat to our beautiful county, and right now the welcome mat needs a good cleaning.”

Kitsap’s litter program supervisor Caitlin Newman said the county will continue to apply in coming cycles for more funding from what she calls an increasingly competitive grant. “We know that there’s not enough funding to keep highways clean. The state’s litter tax was established in 1971, and it’s not generating enough revenue to keep up with the amounts and types of litter we see today,” she said.