How Does Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) Help?
The North Carolina AAH program saves taxpayers approximately $4 million
annually in roadside cleanup costs. It is one of the largest anti-litter programs in the nation, representing approximately 6,000 groups that include around 125,000 volunteers statewide. These volunteers have adopted
about 12,000 miles of state-maintained roadsides.
How Does It Work?
There are 59 local AAH Coordinators
statewide who oversee the program in their
counties. When a group adopts a highway,
the local coordinator works with volunteers to
select an available section of state-maintained
Each adopted section of highway is approximately two
miles long. Volunteer groups sign agreements
with the NCDOT to remove litter
from their adopted sections of roadsides a
minimum of four times each year. Some roads
that are traveled more heavily may require
The NCDOT also provides safety training, safety vests,
orange litterbags, blue recycling bags and gloves.
In addition, the NCDOT removes the
trash-filled bags from roadsides following
A highway is adopted for a period of four years. The adopting group may keep its
adopted section of highway indefinitely if the
agreement is renewed every four years and litter is collected at
least four times each year or more often if necessary. An agreement may be
canceled upon 30 days written notice to the North Carolina
Department of Transportation.
Under a special provision in the 1995 budget bill, the General
Assembly gave the NCDOT authority to allow AAH groups permission
to use contract services to clean their adopted sections of highway. Boy Scouts, high
school clubs, temporary agencies, Employment Security Commissions, welfare recipients and parolees
are great sources for hire. In some instances, it may even be tax
deductible. Please check with your accountant.
Who Should Participate?
Many types of groups participate in the
AAH program including school,
civic, business, religious, professional and social groups.
Individuals and families adopt some sections of highways.
The NCDOT reserves the right to deny an application to adopt a section of highway when the
adoption may create a safety hazard for a NCDOT employee or the public,
jeopardize the AAH program or be counterproductive to its
How Do I Join?
- Call your local AAH Coordinator or 1-(800)331-5864 for more information about the AAH program
- How Do I Apply On-line
- AAH Coordinators listing
How Do I Stay Safe?
Before collecting litter for the first time,
all volunteers must receive adequate safety training.
Local AAH Coordinators provide
a safety video that every group member must view
before participating in a cleanup. The AAH Safety Video Clip is also viewable on-line. Click here to view. The NCDOT
has established these rules to help ensure the
safety of everyone participating in the AAH program:
Age Restrictions: Volunteers must be at least
12 years of age. Those between the ages of 12
and 17 must be supervised adequately by
adults who are 21 years of age or older and submit a Youth Participation Release Form signed by a parent or guardian.
Proper clothing and equipment: During
cleanups, all volunteers must wear orange
AAH safety vests provided by
the NCDOT. Volunteers also should wear
heavy work gloves, substantial shoes or boots
and brightly colored clothing that covers the
arms and legs. Volunteers should never wear or
bring along items that could distract motorists
or impair a driver's or volunteer's vision
Safety procedures: Volunteers must work
facing oncoming traffic, keep off the roadway
and stay at least five feet away from the edge of the
road surface. Cleanup groups should work
only along one side of the road at a time. Litter
pickups must be scheduled for
daylight hours and must be discontinued
during inclement weather.
Volunteers should avoid overexertion, watch
their footing and stay clear of mowing
operations, construction and maintenance
work. Watch for snakes, stinging insects and
poisonous plants. Use "Search" at NC Museum of Natural Sciences web site.
To avoid injuries from broken and jagged
objects, trash bags should not be overfilled
Hazardous objects: Volunteers never should
pick up discarded syringes, needles or other
hazardous objects. When these items are
encountered, contact the local AAH Coordinator who will arrange safe removal
of the material.
Parking: Vehicles must be parked clear of the
roadway and on the same side of the road
where volunteers are working. Whenever
possible, group members should carpool to the
cleanup site to reduce the number of vehicles
parked along the road.
How Do I Recycle?
The NCDOT strongly encourages AAH volunteers to recycle trash collected
during cleanups. Blue bags are provided to help groups keep recyclables
separate from other litter picked up. Currently both aluminum cans and rigid plastic bottles are not allowed to be discarded in landfills and must be recycled (General Statute 130A-309.10 (subsections f through l)). For the facts about recycling, click here.
Groups can obtain information about how, what and where to recycle from
their local AAH Coordinators.
After a pickup, volunteers should take all recyclable items
to a recycling station. The group may use any money obtained from items
How Do I Submit A Pickup Report?
Submitting a pickup report can be done in the following ways:
How Do I Have Trash-Filled Orange Bags Picked Up?
- Use the online report form provided at this site: AAH Pickup Report
- Call 1-(800)-628-4394, the toll-free Hotline, to report your pickup and ask DOT to pick up your bags. Remember to press "1" for YES and press "2" for NO. To use the Hotline you will need to know the:
a) County number and contract number,
b) Date of litter picked up,
c) Number of people picking up,
d) Length of time it took to complete the pickup, and
e) Quantity of bags of metal, glass, plastic and other trash were collected.
- Call your local AAH Coordinator and request Report Cards to be completed and returned by mail or fax.
As soon as possible after a pickup, call the 1-800-628-4394 Hotline to report your pickup and ask DOT to pick up your orange bags. If you are not able to use the Hotline, please call your local AAH Coordinator to report the details of your pickup, and your local NCDOT maintenance department to request pickup of your orange bags. The AAH coordinator will enter your pickup report in the program's database and NCDOT's maintenance crew will pick up the bags from the roadside.
What Wording May Be On AAH Signs?
The NCDOT 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 road. The Federal Highway Administration 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 Federal Highway Administration guidelines.
How Can I Use The Adopt-A-Highway Program As A
Fund-raising activities are permitted within the NCDOT Highway Beautification
Program. Many types of groups participate in these fund raisers, including school,
civic, religious, professional and social groups. Individuals within the groups could gather monetary
pledges per quarter mile of highway that is cleaned. For each quarter section that the
participant picked up trash, his/her organization could collect the pledged money.
All funds collected from the trash pickup would be solely the property of the organization participating in the fund raiser. No portion of the profits would be claimed by the state.
We hope these programs will help groups raise much needed funds while
helping to keep North Carolina roadsides clean and green! Call 1-(800)-331-5864 for more information.
What Are Some Important Adopt-A-Highway Tips To Remember?
- Watch the safety video before your first pickup
- Wear safety vests and gloves (supplied by NCDOT)
- Review safety rules before each pickup
- Bundle the orange bags together and place them farther back from the road.
(This makes picking up the bags safer and easier for NCDOT employees.)
- Take blue bags to your local recycling center
- Call the toll-free Hotline (1-800-628-4394) to report your completed pickup and notify your local NCDOT maintenance yard to collect your trash-filled bags from the roadside
- Call your local AAH coordinator when you have any questions about the AAH program.
|Direct questions about the Adopt-A-Highway Program or this web site to |
Amy Graham, State AAH Coordinator -- firstname.lastname@example.org
1540 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1540--
800-331-5864 (NC only) or 919-715-3188
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