The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for individuals and organizations to join the more than 4,500 groups and 45,000 people in the state who are Adopt a Highway volunteers.
The program is a public service project that helps reduce litter along the roadsides. It’s been part of MnDOT’s maintenance operations for many years.
“Some groups have participated since 1990,” said Vicki Kessler, Adopt a Highway program coordinator for the Twin Cities Metro Area, which has about 500 sections of roadway maintained by volunteers.
Kessler currently has a waiting list for groups wanting to adopt a highway, but there are plenty of roadways available outside the Twin Cities area.
The volunteers, representing schools, businesses, faith-based organizations, families and individuals, clean up more than 10,000 miles of Minnesota roadways each year.
Groups last year spent more than 180,000 hours picking up more than 960,000 pounds of litter, according to Ernest Lloyd, statewide Adopt a Highway manager. He added that the program saves MnDOT more than $7 million annually.
“Volunteers pick up litter, keep the roadways beautiful and save taxpayers money,” said Lloyd. “When our volunteers are out cleaning the roadway ditches, MnDOT employees use their time to maintain our highways. It’s a win-win for the state and it shows that Minnesotans care about their state.”
Individuals and groups who want to volunteer should go to www.mndot.gov/adopt/ to find their local area program coordinator. MnDOT provides safety training, trash bags and safety vests, and will pick up the filled bags. MnDOT also posts signs along the adopted segments of roads with the names of the volunteer groups.
Volunteers are asked to commit to the program for at least two years and pick up litter on both sides of the roadway at least twice a year. The average length of an adopted roadway is two to three miles, although some roads are longer.