Michigan drivers: watch out for road cleanup volunteers July 15-23

Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday as thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers fan out along state roadways from Ironwood to Detroit picking up litter.

Participants in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will clean highway roadsides from July 15 to 23during the second of three scheduled pickups this year.

“These dedicated Adopt-A-Highway volunteers help maintain our highways as a source of pride for every community in Michigan,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Let’s show our respect for their hard work by staying alert during the summer pickup and driving with extra caution when we see these crews on the roadside.”

Every year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect more than 60,000 bags of trash.

The popular program began in 1990 and has grown to involve more than 2,800 groups cleaning 6,400 miles of highway.

Getting involved in the program is straightforward. Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families.

Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people.

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 group names are posted along the stretches of adopted highway.

When working in a highway right of way, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Sections of highway are available for adoption all over the state. Montcalm County, for example, has least 10 sections available. Interested groups can get more information on joining the program atwww.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

Several landfills in southwestern Michigan are also chipping in to help the Adopt-A-Highway 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 scheduled AAH pickups at no charge.

In exchange, these businesses will receive a sign recognizing their support.

The year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup is scheduled for the fall, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.