ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's been one year since the city of Albany blocked off Silica Drive in East Albany because of an extreme illegal dumping problem.
WALB News 10's Jim Wallace went with city leaders to check to see if closing the road to traffic made a difference.
High gates, with extreme guarded locks, and cable surrounds have blocked Silica Drive from Cason Street to Mobile Avenue for the last year.
"It's the first time since it's been closed that I've been here," said Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director Judy Bowles.
Bowles and Albany Solid Waste General Supervisor Don McCook recently opened the gate to check the area for the first time, which for years was known as by far the worst illegal dump site in Albany.
"It looks 100 percent better," said McCook. "100 percent better," said Bowles. "It had sofas, tires, and all sorts of things right here."
As they inspected Silica Drive, there were only a few pieces of occasional litter. It took the city a lot of time, work, and money to clean up the vacant dirt road and woods after closing off the road, but those big gates seem to have worked.
"It's sad that you have to do it," said Bowles.
But it doesn't mean the illegal dumping problem stopped. Instead, it seems to have just changed locations.
Just weeks after city workers hauled off five dump truck loads of debris from an area just miles from Silica Drive, WALB went there and found tires and furniture dumped again.
"It's hard to understand because once you've loaded materials that you don't want into your vehicle or on your truck, you really should go to the landfill with it," said Bowles. "You can put 250 pounds a day in there at no charge."
So it is good news that Silica Drive remains clean, but it took extreme measures to keep the illegal dumpers out. Now city officials will continue to fight this crime in many other areas around Albany.