2012-04-12 / Outdoors

Year’s first Adopt-A-Highway litter pick up starts this Saturday

Michigan’s highway roadsides soon will get a spring cleaning. Almost 3,200 volunteer groups across the state will pick up litter along more than 7,200 miles of state highway from April 14 to 22. It’s the first of three pickups this year for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-AHighway program, which began in 1990.

Adopt-A-Highway volunteers care about their local communities and Michigan, and want to make a difference,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Their efforts help beautify our state and give visitors a positive impression of Michigan.”

In 2011, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collected more than 75,000 bags of trash and saved taxpayers $1.5 million in cleanup costs. They wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations when working within a highway’s right of way. MDOT provides the vests and the trash bags for free, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Current volunteers include members of various civic groups, businesses and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must number at least three people.

Sections of highway are still available for adoption. Interested groups should check the MDOT Web page at www.michigan.gov/ adoptahighway for more information and the name of their county’s coordinator, who can specify available roadsides. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years. There is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing a group’s name are posted along the stretches of adopted highway. There are three scheduled pickups: one each in the spring, summer and fall. The next two pickups are July14 to 22 and Sept. 22 to 30.

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