The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is in search of volunteers to participate in the northwest region’s Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program, which involves cleaning litter from state-owned roadsides.
“As the weather begins to transition out of the winter season, we begin to notice garbage and debris that has accumulated along many of our roadways,” said Cheryl Wimer, AAH coordinator for PennDOT’s northwest region. “Each year, we make an appeal to people in our communities to partner with us and help keep our state beautiful and litter free.”
Through the department’s AAH program, volunteers collect litter on an approximately two-mile section of state roadway at least two times a year, typically the spring and fall. In 2022, the statewide program had over 4,500 participating groups, nearly 111,000 registered volunteers, and more than 8,500 miles of adopted state-maintained roadways.
PennDOT’s District 1, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties, had 520 groups participate in the program last year, adopting nearly 1,300 total miles.
More than double that number of roadways, 2,761 miles, is available for adoption, along with a variety of other areas, including park and rides in Crawford, Mercer, and Erie counites, scenic views in Forest, Venango, and Crawford counties, and interstate interchanges.
Roadways and other areas can be adopted by individuals or organized groups such as clubs, schools, churches, businesses, and families. In return for their participation, PennDOT posts signs along the roadway giving the volunteers credit for their efforts.
Gloves, trash bags, and safety vests for the cleanup campaign are provided by PennDOT, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Pick Up Pennsylvania, which runs from March 1 to May 31.
Interested groups and individuals can sign up for the program by going online at www.adoptahighway.penndot.gov, where they can also do the following:
- Apply for the program online;
- Use an interactive map to ‘point and click’ to select a roadway when applying;
- Request supplies for an event;
- Enter trash collection requests;
- Notify PennDOT after the event that bags are ready for pick-up;
- Update group information, such as contact name, phone number and email address; and
- Renew or cancel an agreement.
Returning groups are reminded to renew their commitment to the clean-up effort by completing the online form every two years.
“The AAH programs would not be possible without the volunteers who generously spend time submitting their agreements and picking up the litter on our roadways,” Wimer said.