Cleaning up the streets

The Grey Dragons Association of Michigan Manistee Chapter got off their motorcycles to start cleaning up their section of U.S. 31 North as part of the state's Adopt-A-Highway program. (Courtesy photo)

The Grey Dragons Association of Michigan Manistee Chapter got off their motorcycles to start cleaning up their section of U.S. 31 North as part of the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program. (Courtesy photo)

Adopt-A-Highway in Michigan begins with year’s first litter pickup

MANISTEE COUNTY — Highway roadsides across lower Michigan saw their first cleanup of the year starting last weekend.

Volunteers in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program will pick up litter through Sunday.

Due to snow still on the ground in some areas, the first Adopt-A-Highway pickup for the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be later, from April 30 to May 8.

“Adopt-A-Highway volunteers take pride in keeping Michigan roadsides looking great,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We have tremendous appreciation for their hard work. Adopt-A-Highway crews give a financial boost to the entire state by doing an important job that we otherwise couldn’t fund. Please be alert and drive with caution when you see the volunteers at work.”

Volunteers pick up litter three times each year. Statewide, there will be a summer pickup from July 16 to 24 and a fall pickup from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2.

Dedicated AAH volunteers collect about 70,000 bags of trash annually, an estimated $5 million value for the state. Volunteers 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.

The AAH enters its 26th year in 2016 with a quarter century of accomplishments behind it. Some measure of the program’s success include:

  • 382 groups have been in the program for 25 years or more. Of the 2,925 groups currently in the program, 751 have been participating for at least 20 years;
  • There have been more than 2 million bags of litter collected from the state’s roadsides; and
  • 6,400 miles of highway are currently adopted.

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. Groups are asked to adopt a section for at least two years. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing a group’s name are posted along the stretch of adopted highway. There is no fee to participate.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

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