Adopt a Highway Programs

Preserving the cleanliness and road structures is important for highways and interstates across the country. Many highways have an adoption program per state, with varying restrictions, group sponsorships, and company sponsors. These sponsors volunteer their time in an effort to keep the highway clean and free of visible litter, as well as maintain the general area. Companies across the nation have adopted various segments of national highways and interstates not only to pursue this volunteer opportunity, but also promote their work. Each company, group, or organization that chooses to adopt a highway can enjoy the pride of a sign with their name posted alongside the area.

Road trippers are sure to recall various intersections, interstates, and strips of highway with unique and well-known organizations. Corporations such as Disney, Sony, Verizon, and even Donald Trump have claimed their stake of highway by contributing volunteer time accordingly. The Adopt a Highway Maintenance Corporation runs these programs nationwide, and encourages prominent businesses and companies to participate. Historians and other civil rights proponents have also named various portions of highways in the honor of an individual. The Rosa Parks highway segment is just one of many in operation today. The program first began in Texas in 1985, where a group of environmentally-conscious citizens wanted to set up a litter control program. Since then, 49 states have followed suit.

In Wisconsin, the adopt-a-highway is run and managed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Sponsors range from church and civic groups, school volunteers, local companies, and various clubs. The program is very popular in Wisconsin, and the signature ‘rainbow’ adopt-a-highway sign is visible along almost every Wisconsin strip of interstate! The program enables community groups and leaders to designate ‘clean up’ days, increase environment-friendly awareness, promote preservation of clean roads, and provide an opportunity to contribute to Wisconsin’s naturally beautiful roadsides.

The statewide anti-litter program promotes the environmentally-friendly campaign even further. There is a $500 fine imposed for those who litter on a Wisconsin highway, and this fine enforcement is shared by other Midwestern states. For the volunteers who work to maintain their piece of land, the Wisconsin DOT provides a ‘people working’ sign as a marker, for placement at the beginning and end of the designated area. You’ll often see volunteers in bright orange vests along the roadside, as they work away on this very worthwhile project. The other requirements of this program are that the pickup take place at least three times per year, and only between April 1 and November 1. An application to adopt a highway in Wisconsin can be found here

Many states can participate in various ways to promote their social and environmental responsibilities. The steps that both local and national companies can take to promote stewardship and volunteer work is easy with the national Adopt A Highway program. The program can be a great socializing opportunity, and the incentive of a sign with the company’s name along a national interstate, makes this a golden opportunity for promotion! It has proved to be a successful educational tool for school groups, church leaders, and other civic and social groups who can band together for a great cause.

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