The Virginia Department of Highways and Transporation has asked for citizen assistance in cleaning state roadsides, because employees will be spending much of their time this season patching roads damaged by the severe winter.

In 1976 more than 500,000 Virginians joined the highway department to clean up the state's roads for the Bicentennial and the department is asking residents to pitch in once again.

Even with residents' help, cleaning roadsides is an expensive operation. It cost Virginia taxpayers $1,470,404 for 1975-76, according the the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation. State roadside clean-up, which also includes cleaning rest areas on interstates, painting trash containers and sign cleaning, cost Fairfax County taxpayers $67,381 last year. The state cost for Arlington, which maintains most of its own roads, was $15,008, and Loundoun County taxpayers paid $24,329. In Prince William County, the clean-up cost was $24,816.

"The frustration comes from the fact that every year the taxpayer's money is spent on something without any kind of lasting value," said C. O. Leigh, the department's state maintenance engineer. He said citizens could help reduce the cost this year by:

Putting trash in litter containers in their vehicles until it can be disposed of properly

Using the litter barrels along highways. There are about 1,400 barrels and signs on the roadways point out their locations.

More information on the cleanup campaign is available in Fairfax and Arlington counties from Don Keates at 273-0660; in Loudoun County, call R. H. Connock at 777-3243; and in Prince William County, call C. D. Garver Jr. at 361-2151.