The road located in far eastern Hawkins County is best known for its mythical haunted tunnel.
But it has also been a haven for litterbugs. And it’s not just the typical drink bottles and food wrappers that inconsiderate motorists toss out their window while passing by.
Tires, furniture, appliances, household garbage, and some things that can only be labeled as unknown are strewn along the roadway.
Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Yates said Wednesday that the idea for the cleanup came from some members of his department who live on and around Sensabaugh Hollow. The department held a meeting and discussed the idea of a cleanup day for the 2.5-mile stretch of road, which is also in its fire coverage area, and most of the members agreed to participate.
Yates said 15 to 20 firefighters will begin about 9 a.m. and hope to be completed shortly after noon. Any non-members who wish to help are welcome to show up and grab a garbage bag.
“There’s a few bad spots through here where people drive by and throw their stuff out, and we just felt like it was time to do something about it,” Yates said. “You see everything from A to Z out here. A lot of tires, a lot of appliances — just anything that you can think of has been dumped.”
Sensabaugh Hollow Road is also often a target of arson. Someone will stop and set afire a couch or tires that have been dumped beside the road.
Aside from wasting fire department resources to answer those calls, it also creates a serious hazard for brush fires in the dry season. The cleanup will also eliminate several potential arson targets.
“We just want to let people know that we do care about our community and just see what we can do to help make it a little better,” Yates said. “Before we decided on this, I talked with them and said we have to make sure that we’ve got the help to do this because this is going to take more than two or three people to do. Everybody was pretty excited about it, and hopefully the weather will be fair for us and it will look a lot better when we leave.”
Hawkins County solid waste coordinator Harry Burton is providing a dumpster for the cleanup, and Yates said he’s fairly confident that it will be filled.
This is the first time the fire department has taken on a road cleanup project.
“We talked during the meeting about possibly picking a different road every year,” Yates said. “We’re going to buy all the trash bags, but hopefully we can get everything disposed of without putting too much expense on the fire department.”