The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking volunteers to participate in the Northwest Region’s Adopt-A-Highway programs, which clean up litter from state-owned highways.
“With spring fast approaching, the PennDOT Northwest Region begins its annual campaign to increase participation in the Adopt-A-Highway program,” said Cheryl Wimer, District 1 Coordinator. “Groups can adopt state-owned grassy areas or any of nearly 3,000 currently unassigned miles. We are looking for community members to partner with us to clean up debris and litter along the roads and help protect Pennsylvania’s beauty.
Through PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, volunteers collect litter on a 2-mile section of state highway at least twice a year, usually in the spring and fall.
As of 2021, the statewide program has more than 5,000 participating groups, nearly 108,000 registered volunteers, and more than 7,500 miles of state-adopted and maintained roads.
Across the region, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties, 476 groups are participating in the program and nearly 1,100 miles have been adopted.
Besides one of the 2,995 miles of route, there are other areas in each county that can be adopted, including parks and rides in Crawford and Erie counties; scenic views in Forest, Venango and Crawford counties; and interstate interchanges such as Interstate 90 and Route 19 in Mercer County.
Roads and other areas can be adopted by individuals or groups of all kinds, including clubs, schools, churches, businesses and families. In exchange for their participation, PennDOT posts signs along the roadway giving volunteers credit for their efforts.
Gloves, trash bags and safety vests are provided by PennDOT, Department of Environmental Protection and Pick Up Pennsylvania. The cleaning campaign runs from March 1 to May 31.
Interested groups and individuals can register for the program by visiting adoptahighway.penndot.govwhere they can do the following:
• Apply for the program online.
• Use an interactive map to point and click to select a route when applying.
• Request supplies for an event.
• Enter waste collection requests.
• Notify PennDOT after event that bags are ready for pickup.
• Update group information such as contact name, phone number, and email address.
• Renew or cancel an agreement.
We remind returning groups to renew their commitment to the cleanup effort by completing the online form every two years.
“We thank all the volunteers who give of their time each year to renew their agreements, record their cleanup efforts and spend a few hours cleaning up trash along our roads. It goes without saying that we could never do all of this work without them,” Wimer said.