Volunteers helping with the Adopt-a-Highway program picked up nearly 36,000 bags of litter and cleaned up almost 9,000 miles of state roadways in 2018, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
More than 3,500 volunteer groups, ranging from four to 25 people, spent an estimated 282,000 hours cleaning roadway ditches across Minnesota last year, which translated into an estimated $7 million benefit for the state.
“When our volunteers are picking up litter along the roadways it shows that Minnesotans care about their state and it is a win-win for all involved,” said Ann McLellan, state Adopt-a-Highway manager.
The program has been part of MnDOT’s maintenance operations since 1990.
More than 4,400 segments of state roadway are currently adopted in Minnesota by volunteers representing schools, businesses, faith-based groups, families and individuals.
“We still have at least 700 segments available for adoption, most of them in greater Minnesota. In the Twin Cities area, there are 28 segments available,” said McLellan.
In southwest Minnesota, 46 volunteer groups have been with the program since 1990, and 52 groups have been on board since 1991.
“Our groups are dedicated and proud of how clean their sections are,” said Linda Vandendriessche, MnDOT District 8 Adopt-a-Highway coordinator.
About 512 sections have been adopted and 40 sections are still available for adopting. Vandendriessche said people in southwest Minnesota can look for Adopt a Highway signs with “available” on them or call her at (507) 537-6146 to check availability.
Statewide, individuals and groups who want to volunteer should visit the MnDOT Web site to find their local area program coordinator.
MnDOT provides safety training, trash bags and safety vests, and picks up the filled bags that volunteers leave at the side of the road. 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 miles.
Learn more online at www.mndot.gov.
– Photo courtesy of the MnDOT Web site