ST. PAUL, Minn. – Volunteers helping with the Adopt a Highway program pick up 826,000 pounds—more than 100 dump truck loads—of litter annually saving the state an estimated $6 million, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The Adopt a Highway program is staffed by more than 49,000 volunteers representing businesses, non-profits, families and individuals who are helping to clean up more than 11,000 miles of Minnesota’s highways. The program saw an increase of 12 volunteers groups and more than 120 volunteers in 2013.
“They volunteer because they want to keep Minnesota highways beautiful and because they take pride in what they do,” said Ernest Lloyd, Adopt a Highway program administrator. “Because of volunteers’ contributions, our crews can spend more time on highway improvement and safety projects.”
Even with these great efforts, MnDOT is looking for more volunteers to help with this public service campaign, Lloyd said. To become part of the program, the volunteer groups agree to:
· Adopt a highway for a minimum of two years
· Select a segment of highway approximately two miles in length (Note: only select sections of state highways are available for adoption due to safety concerns)
· Pick up litter on both sides of the highway
· Pick up litter as often as needed from spring through fall, usually two to three times
MnDOT provides a safety training video, trash bags for cleanup events and safety vests for each volunteer. The high-visibility color and reflective tape make litter crews more visible to passing motorists.
After the group completes its cleanup MnDOT crews pick up the filled bags and large, heavy or hazardous items from the roadside. State workers, not volunteers, are responsible for litter pickup along the interstate.
Another Adopt a Highway option is “Pick A Highway,” which allows an individual, family, business or group the option of trying out the program with a one-time pickup of litter along an unadopted section of state highway.
Those interested in participating in the program can visit www.mndot.gov/adopt/contacts.html for local contact information