Lansing, MI - Volunteers will fan out out across lower Michigan to give state highway roadsides their annual spring cleaning beginning Saturday as groups in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program pick up litter from April 13 to 21.
Due to lingering snow cover in some areas, the first AAH pickup for the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be later, from May 4 to 12.
"Our thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers deserve thanks for helping to save taxpayer dollars while keeping Michigan roadsides clean," said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. "Their community spirit and pride make a huge difference. We ask all motorists to keep an eye out for these volunteers and drive cautiously during the pickup periods."
Volunteers pick up litter three times each year. Statewide, there will be a summer pickup from July 13 to 21 and a fall pickup from Sept. 21 to 29.
The AAH program began in Michigan in 1990. Today, more than 2,700 groups have adopted more than 6,300 miles of state highway. These volunteers collect 60,000 to 70,000 bags of trash annually, an estimated $5 million value for the state. AAH groups wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations when working within a highway right of way. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.
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. Groups are asked to adopt a section for at least two years. AAH signs bearing a group's name are posted along the stretch of adopted highway. There is no fee to participate.
Several landfills in southwestern Michigan are also chipping in to help the AAH program. Westside Landfill in St. Joseph County, C&C Landfill in Calhoun County, Orchard Hill Landfill in Berrien County, Southeast Berrien County Landfill near Niles, and Republic Services Gembrit Circle Transfer Station in Kalamazoo have all agreed to accept trash generated by the three annual AAH pickups at no charge. In exchange, these businesses will receive a sign recognizing their support.
For more information, go to www.Michigan.gov/AdoptAHighway.