The Lincoln Police Department says it discovered someone living inside the Highway 65 bypass recently.

Last week, officers were cleaning up after local transients in the Auburn Ravine when they discovered that someone was living in the bypass. Officials say someone had removed a grate that allowed access inside the bridge itself.

There were separate rooms inside the bypass. One had a mattress and bedding while another was used for cooking and other activities. A third room was used for garbage, the police department said.

Someone also built a bridge to improve access to the area.

On Wednesday, Caltrans brought several employees and staff from an environmental cleaning company to remove the trash. Officials say Caltrans will also check back frequently to ensure it remains unoccupied.

Chief Doug Lee isn't sure why he's seeing an increase in transients in Lincoln. He took us to one of the areas he's seen a lot of illegal campsites by a ravine. Some of them got notices last week that the campsites would be cleared out.

The area was clean Thursday but Lee said it will change. He says people just move and find another spot to illegally camp.

On average, they do big cleanups 20 to 25 times a year.

The police chief doesn't have an estimate as to how much it costs to clean up the illegal campsites.

He says he has to pay his officers overtime and get a public works employee and landscape company to haul the trash out.

They don't know if there is a solution to this, but they're getting advice from other law enforcement agencies facing a similar problem.

(Photo credit: Lincoln Police Department)