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ODOT encourages folks to register through Adopt-A-Highway program

Photo Provided An Ohio Department of Transportation worker picks up litter along the roadway. Those interested in volunteering to pick up trash along the roads are encouraged to sign up through ODOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

WOODSFIELD — In an effort to help with litter cleanup on state roadways, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced it will again hold its Adopt-A-Highway program this year.

Ashley Rittenhouse, public information officer for ODOT District 10, said littering along roadways is a “huge problem.” ODOT spends millions of dollars on litter cleanup each year.

Unfortunately, last year’s program was put on hold due to restrictions on gatherings associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

“To comply with the social distancing and group gathering guidance from the governor’s office, we temporarily put the program on hold,” she said.

However, it has been renewed this year, Rittenhouse said. The program allows volunteer groups to adopt a section of state, federal or interstate roadway.

The volunteers are then responsible for collecting litter along a 2-mile section of the road.

Although ODOT has partnered with Monroe County for its county-wide litter cleanup that is set for later this month, the agency urges interested residents to sign up through the program.

“It’s a safety concern. We want volunteers to remain safe while out there picking up trash, and we offer training programs to encourage their safety,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone that is picking up litter has seen the safety video and signed the waiver. We want to make sure everyone out there is safe — that’s our main priority.”

Rittenhouse said the agency will provide the tools and equipment needed to participate, which is why they encourage volunteers to register with the program. Through the program, ODOT provides safety training, trash bags and disposable safety vests. Once the bags of garbage are filled, volunteers can call the local ODOT garage and alert the staff to the location where crews will come and collect the bags, she said. The only thing residents need to provide is their time, she added.

Rittenhouse said any resident who is interested in volunteering with the roadway cleanup can register for the program at transportation.ohio.gov/litter.

“We appreciate anyone in the community who is willing to pick up litter and has a desire to clean up the road sides,” she said.

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