Volunteers keep state roadsides looking good

There are groups of volunteers in Delta County and across the state that perform a service we may not notice – unless no one bothered to do it. Many area groups volunteer to pick up trash and debris along local highways several times a year through the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

They provide a valuable service. We tend not to notice roadsides free of trash. Roadsides filled with litter, however, wold certainly catch the eye of most motorists. With state funding limited, this service probably wouldn’t get done without these volunteers. They deserve our thanks.

You will see them removing trash from roadsides again next week. Participants in the Adopt-A-Highway program will be cleaning up highway roadsides from July 13 to 21, the second of three scheduled pickups this year.

In 2012, Adopt-A-Highway volunteer groups reported collecting about 65,000 bags of trash, a cost benefit to the state of $5.6 million. Volunteers 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 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. 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.

The year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup will be in the fall, from Sept. 21 to 29.