Adopt a Highway volunteers spring into action

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 5:44 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Now that spring has arrived, thousands of Adopt a Highway volunteers across Minnesota are helping to beautify roadsides and save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in litter removal costs.

National Volunteer Week is April 19 – 25 and the Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to thank its many volunteers for making a difference in their communities.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation extends its thanks to the dedicated volunteers and their organizations who participate in the Adopt a Highway program,” said Bob Busch, Mn/DOT District 3 Engineer. “Their collective efforts benefit our state by keeping our roadsides attractive and giving visitors a positive impression as they travel our highways.”

In central Minnesota, there are approximately 703 active community organizations cleaning along side state highways throughout Aitkin, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties.

Adopt a Highway community organizations agree to:
●       Adopt a state highway for a minimum of two years
●       Select a segment of highway approximately two miles in length
●       Pick up litter as often as needed, spring through fall, usually two to three times a year
●       Remove roadside debris on both sides of a highway
●       Notify Mn/DOT after every pickup

To ensure the volunteer’s safety, the Federal Highway Administration has a new safety standard requiring a high visibility ANSI Class 2 safety garment for all workers performing tasks on highway rights of way. All participants must wear the new safety vest; previous orange vests are being replaced by Mn/DOT. In addition, Mn/DOT provides safety training and trash bags.

Mn/DOT maintenance staff will pick up filled trash bags from the roadsides and remove large, heavy or hazardous items. For safety reasons, volunteers do not pick up hazardous materials and are instructed to report the location of these items to the nearest Mn/DOT office. Volunteer groups are encouraged to recycle any materials they find.

Mn/DOT asks motorists to drive with extra caution and care when coming upon volunteers picking up roadside debris.

To participate in the Mn/DOT’s Adopt a Highway program, log on to www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt or call a Mn/DOT district office. In central Minnesota, there are offices in Baxter at 218-828-5700 or toll free at 800-657-3971 and ask for Mary Nieken. In St. Cloud area, call 320-223-6500 or toll free 800-657-3961 and speak to Cindy Senger.

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