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Year's first Adopt-A-Highway pickup starts Saturday

Fast facts:

  •     The first Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-A-Highway pickup of the year is April 13-21 for the Lower Peninsula.
  •     Pickups for the Upper Peninsula will be from May 18- 26.
  •     Sections of highway are still available to adopt. Go to for more information.

LANSING, Mich. ­- In an annual rite of spring, volunteers will fan out across lower Michigan to give state highway roadsides their first 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.

The first AAH pickup for the Upper Peninsula will be later, from May 18 to 26, when spring has had more time to set in for the northern part of the state.

"Our Adopt-A-Highway volunteers come back year after year to keep roadsides in their communities clean," said State Transportation Director Brad Wieferich. "Some of these groups have been with the program since it started more than 30 years ago. We want to thank them for their hard work and remind everyone to help them stay safe. Please drive cautiously during the pickup periods and watch out for them on the roadside."

The AAH program began in Michigan in 1990. Today, around 2,900 groups have adopted more than 6,000 miles of state highway. In a typical year, these volunteers collect 60,000 to 70,000 bags of trash annually, an estimated $5 million value for the state.

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.

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. Go to for more information.

Several landfills in southwestern Michigan do their part 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 receive a sign recognizing their support.

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