Harrisburg, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) marks the 30th Anniversary of their Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program this week, where volunteers “adopt” a highway to collect litter. Started in 1990, the program currently has over 4,900 participating groups, more than 100,000 volunteers, and over 10,000 miles of adopted state-maintained roadways.
“The selfless actions of our Adopt-A-Highway volunteers has had an incredible impact on the commonwealth and its citizens,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Their efforts have helped present a positive impression of Pennsylvania to visitors for the past 30 years, and we are truly grateful.”
The savings generated by these programs – over $5 million annually that the department would have spent to pick up litter – allows PennDOT to redirect money toward maintaining safe roadways.
Building upon the Adopt-A-Highway program, PennDOT offers volunteers the opportunity to add landscaping to their litter collection efforts by way of the Adopt and Beautify program.
Through Adopt and Beautify, volunteers expand upon PennDOT's planting efforts to cultivate approved plantings and conduct litter pick up along our state-maintained roadways under a two-year commitment. In return, PennDOT places a sign recognizing the group for its efforts. Interchange areas and traffic islands are also available for adoption, this is a wonderful way to say, "Welcome to Pennsylvania and our community."
As an enhancement to Adopt and Beautify, PennDOT has developed a Pollinator Habitat Plan that will create naturalized gardens and meadows planted with pollinator-friendly plant species at designated sites in partnership with public and private organizations. The gardens can be planted and maintained at a PennDOT designated pollinator habitat site within the department's right-of-way property, including at county facilities, interstate rest stops, or approved interchange areas or traffic islands.
Individuals or groups such as clubs, schools, churches, businesses, and families may apply to adopt gardens for two-year timeframes. Participants must be 8 years or older, with at least one adult (18 years or older) per eight minors.
More information on PennDOT’s roadside beautification efforts can be found on PennDOT’s website.