MANKATO (TEC News) - Minnesota's Adopt a Highway program continues its story of success.
The volunteer-run program, which originated in 1980s Texas, saves the state an estimated $6 million annually.
Those savings come from 49,000 volunteers picking up 26,000 tons of litter per year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
In order to take part in the program, groups of volunteers must agree to adopt a two-mile stretch of highway for a minimum of two years, and pick up litter on both sides of the highway as often as needed.
Pickups generally occur during the spring and the fall, said MnDOT public affairs coordinator, Rebecca Arndt.
In addition to savings, the program allows state highway crews to focus on safety issues. Rather than spending time picking up litter, crews can "patch holes and fix shoulders," said Arndt.
Highway crews do, however, pick up the garbage bags and items left of the roadside after a group completes its cleanup.
The program's success has sparked the creation of other cleanup programs around the city and state, said Arndt: Arndt 2 AH "good thing" :9
For more information about the Adopt a Highway Program, visit www.dot.state.mn.us.