The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for volunteers for its Adopt a Highway program, a public service campaign where community groups, churches, businesses and individuals pick up litter along Minnesota highways.
"Several groups are already out making a personal contribution to a cleaner environment, but there are many more miles of highway waiting to be adopted," said Ernest Lloyd, Statewide Adopt a Highway coordinator.
In the 21 years since its introduction, the program has saved the state of Minnesota millions of dollars. Adopt a Highway volunteers pick up 26,000 tons of litter per year along Minnesota highways, which saves Mn/DOT an estimated $5 million annually, according to Lloyd.
"The Adopt a Highway program is a perfect example of public/private partnership at its best," Lloyd said. "Thanks to the dedication of our Adopt a Highway volunteers and their organizations, Mn/DOT is able to use the resources, that would have otherwise been used to pick up litter, for highway improvement and safety projects."
There are more than 12,000 miles of state highway in Minnesota of which 9,800 miles are adopted. Currently, there are an estimated 4,500 statewide groups and 45,000 volunteers registered.
Those interested in adopting a highway can visit: www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/contact.html to find out who to contact in their area.
By joining the Adopt a Highway program, groups agree to:
· Adopt a highway for a minimum of two years.
· Select a segment of highway approximately two miles in length.
· Pick up litter on both sides of a highway.
· Pick up litter as often as needed spring through fall--usually two to three times a year. The spring pickup should be done in April or May before the first grass mowing.
· Notify Mn/DOT after every pickup.
In return, Mn/DOT will:
· Help your group select a highway to adopt--roads that have heavy traffic or are inaccessible to pedestrians are not eligible.
· Provide retroreflective safety vests, trash bags and safety information--a safety training video is available from your Adopt a Highway coordinator or at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFxiDZ6O0hA .
· Remove filled bags and large, heavy or hazardous items from roadsides.
· Erect a sign along your group's section of highway to recognize your commitment to a cleaner environment.
To find out how to get involved in Mn/DOT's Adopt a Highway program, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt or call Ernest Lloyd at 651-366-3564.