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Michigan’s first Adopt-A-Highway pickup starts Saturday

LANSING — Volunteers will fan out across lower Michigan to give state highway roadsides their annual spring cleaning beginning Saturday as groups in the Michigan Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway program pick up litter from Saturday to May 1.

The first AAH pickup for the Upper Peninsula will be from May 7 to 15, when spring has had more time to set in.

“We want to acknowledge the valuable service these thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers provide each year keeping our roadsides clean,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Their commitment to their communities makes a huge difference across Michigan.”

The AAH program began in Michigan in 1990. Now 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 16 to 24 and a fall pickup from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2.

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.

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