Signals AZ

Adopt a Highway Cleanup Removes 4 Tons of Trash in a Single Day

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

Arizona Department of Transportation volunteers shattered last year’s National CleanUp Day numbers on Sept. 19 by removing more than 642 bags, totaling more than 4 tons of trash, from alongside Arizona’s highway.

Seventy volunteer groups and individuals from all corners of the state registered through the new portal launched in August that was designed specifically to capture volunteer group participation and make it easier to sign up and participate. A one-day permit option was also made available. The new process helped ADOT document the number of litter bags filled and to notify highway maintenance units of the locations to pick up the litter bags filled by volunteers.

Every day Adopt-a-Highway program volunteers are giving back to Arizona. ADOT strives to make it safe and as easy as possible for them to continue volunteering in every corner of the state. This year, four times the number of known participants registered for National CleanUp Day compared to last year. Volunteers removed an estimated 642 bags of trash, up 70% from 2019. The total weight was estimated at 8,798 pounds.

About 345 individuals from communities big and small made a positive impact for drivers on the state highway system by removing all types of litter, including cigarette butts, plastic bags and bottles, aluminum cans, and other unsightly trash.

Rhonda Johnston, in Chino Valley, said, “Thanks for organizing this event. We want our roads to be beautiful!”

Three of the volunteer groups who requested one-day permits opted to sign on for a two-year permit with the Adopt-a-Highway Volunteer program, which includes recognition sign installation. ADOT welcomes individuals and groups that want to make a difference. Visit for information on volunteering as well as an interactive map showing highway segments available for adoption.

In return for a two-year permit and a sign recognizing their group’s segment, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers agree to:

  • Adopt a minimum of two miles of state highway

  • Always wear Federal Highway Administration required ANSI Class II Safety vests

  • Read a safety brief and watch a safety video before each cleanup

  • Contact ADOT before cleaning up their sections

  • File activity reports telling ADOT how many bags of litter they cleaned up

  • Clean their sections at least once and preferably three or more times per year

Adopt a Highway cleanups continue during the current public health situation, though ADOT asks volunteers to observe state and federal guidelines calling for social distancing and limiting cleanup crews to fewer than 10 people.

Motorists can support Adopt-a-Highway volunteers by slowing down where people are picking up litter and always driving with extra caution and care.

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