Montana Department of Transportation

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Public Involvement

Adopt-A-Highway Program

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) help?

The Montana AAH program saves taxpayers money annually in roadside cleanup costs.

Who Should Participate?

Many types of Volunteer groups participate in the AAH program including schools, civic, business, religious, professional and social groups and individuals and families that adopt sections of Montana highways.

The MT Department of Transportation (MDT) reserves the right to deny an application to adopt a section of highway when the adoption may create a safety hazard for an MDT employee, a Volunteer or the Public.

How Does It Work?

There are 12 AAH Coordinators statewide who oversee the program in their Districts. When a group adopts a highway, the District Coordinator works with the Volunteer Group Leader to select an available section of state-maintained highway. Each adopted section of highway is approximately (2) two miles long. The Volunteer Group Leader signs an agreement with the Montana Department of Transportation to remove litter from their adopted sections of roadsides a minimum of (2) two times a year.

MDT will provide safety vests, trash bags, traffic control signs, and safety literature. In addition MDT removes the trash-filled bags from roadsides following a pickup.

A highway is adopted for a period of (2) two years. The adopting Volunteer Group may keep its adopted section of highway indefinitely if the agreement is renewed every (2) two years and litter is collected at least (2) twice a year. An agreement may be canceled upon notification to the MDT District Coordinator.

How Do I Join?

Go to the AAH website, locate the District Coordinator for the interested area and contact them by email or phone. You can also review the Interactive AAH Map that is available on the website by zooming into the interested area and clicking on Apply On-Line.

Are There Safety Procedure?

AAH Volunteers must work facing oncoming traffic, keep off the roadway and stay at least (5) five feet away from the edge of the road surface. Volunteer groups will work only along one side of the road at a time.

AAH Volunteers should avoid the following:
-Overexertion,
-their footing,
-watch for snakes and stinging insects,
-hazardous objects such as fluid and needles, and
-stay clear of mowing operations, construction or maintenance work.

How Do I Stay Safe?

Proper clothing and equipment: During cleanups, all volunteers must wear orange AAH safety vests provided by MDT. Volunteers also should wear heavy work gloves, substantial shoes or boots and brightly colored clothing that covers the arm and legs. Volunteers should never wear or bring along items that could distract motorists or impair a driver’s or volunteer’s vision or hearing.

Are There Hazardous Objects?

Volunteers should never pick up discarded syringes, needles, or other hazardous objects. When these items are encountered, contact the local District Coordinators who will arrange safe removal of the material.

Where Do You Park When Volunteering?

Vehicles must be parked clear of the roadway and on the same side of the road where volunteers are working. Whenever possible, Volunteer group members should carpool to the cleanup site to reduce the number of vehicles parked along the road.

Are There Age Restrictions?

No participates under the age of 10 are allowed. When participants are 10-15 years of age, the Volunteer Group shall furnish an Adult Supervision equal to one Adult per each (5) five participants.

What Wording May Be On Adopt-A-Highway Signs?

MDT posts two signs, one at each end of the adopted section, with a group’s name to acknowledge the group that has taken responsibility for cleaning the roadway. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) allows only the name of an organization, business or individual on AAH signs. Other wording, such as; logos, slogans, messages, dates, telephone numbers, Internet addresses, etc.., is prohibited by FHA guidelines. The sign is 3x3 with maximum of 14 characters per line with a 2 line maximum.

Are There Tips To Remember Before Picking-Up Litter?

  • Watch the Safety videos before your first pickup
  • Wear safety vest provided by MDT
  • Wear gloves
  • Review Safety Rules before each pickup
  • Call your local AAH coordinator when you have any questions about the AAH program.