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Paint vandalism on North Coast roadways

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EUREKA- Caltrans officials are working to resolve the issue of splattered paint in the roadways of the Eureka Slough Bridges. 

Motorists say they notice the paint on the Eureka Slough Bridges when driving on this stretch of freeway.

"I've noticed that it has slowly increased in size.  There are more spots than there were a few weeks ago," said Jessica Carenco, who lives in Eureka.

But Eureka Police officials confirm there are no suspects at this time.  Authorities say last month, a motorist reported seeing a man in a dark hooded sweatshirt dumping paint on the bridge, but he was not located and it is unknown if he is associated with all the paint or not.

"It still is vandalism.  It is a nuisance,” said Eli Rohl, the Public Information Officer with Caltrans, District 1. 

“You're blurring those lines on the bridge, you might not be able to see the dividing lines, you've got the paint going over the railings… Humboldt Bay is a fairly enclosed ecosystem, so you do want to be careful about what gets into the water.  And from what we can tell, these people aren't necessarily very careful about it, so that's a concern."

Rohl says the paint is not causing any damage to the structure of the bridge, but Caltrans officials are working to find the person or persons responsible.

"Caltrans is looking at enforcement options with our local law enforcement partners, CHP and the Eureka Police Department.  We're still working something out with them.  We've had suggestions of maybe putting up cameras. We're still looking at those options.  Right now, there isn't a really definite plan," Rohl said.

Rohl says there are currently no plans to clean the paint.

"If we were to go out and clean it up, would it be a waste of time?  Probably, because next week, it's going to be defaced again," said Rohl.

"I don't know if the paint is toxic or if it really provides any safety hazards in terms of visibility on the roads, but I think if that's the case, then it should be up.  But I don't know if that will just cause more people to continue an endless cycle," Carenco said.

officials say the best way to help is to call law enforcement if you see someone throwing paint on the roadway.  They say to be ready to give their description.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife could not provide a comment by deadline.