The Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) Program was established in 1988 by the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in response to growing public concern regarding litter along the state's highways. Administered by NCDOT’s Roadside Environmental Unit, the AAH Program is a joint effort between community volunteers and the Department to decrease the amount of litter on State roadsides, and to improve the beauty and quality of the environment. This is accomplished by removing litter from roadsides and educating the public about the importance of proper trash disposal.

AAH Volunteers are also encouraged to recycle and NCDOT provides reversible orange/blue bags to aid in separating recyclables from collected trash.

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There is no fee associated with adoption of a roadway, but there is a four year agreement between NCDOT and AAH Volunteers to care for an adopted stretch of roadway with a minimum length of two miles. Two AAH signs with a recognition panel will be installed at each end of the adopted roadway.

The agreement requires a roadside litter cleanup four times a year or more, if needed. Each participant in the AAH group must view the Safety Video before participating in a cleanup. AAH cleanups involve picking up trash on both sides of the road within the adopted two-mile section of roadway. A leanup report must be submitted after each cleanup. Filled bags of trash can be picked up by NCDOT when requested through the cleanup report and bags with items for recycling shall be taken to a local recycling center by the volunteer group.

Reporting an Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup

  • Report Online - Pickup Report for Adopt-A-Highway
  • If you are not able to report online, please call your local Coordinator - Phone List. Thank you for participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program and reporting your cleanup results.

Applying to Adopt-A-Highway

To apply to the AAH Program, first determine roadway availability by viewing the Litter Management Map and request a segment when submitting your AAH application.” The users can get to the apply link from the map page by clicking on the AAH button, then the “Apply for Program” button.

If you have questions about AAH, please see the attached list of Coordinators or contacts within each county. They can assist with AAH Program inquires, including explaining AAH Program requirements, and answering any questions related to AAH signs and/or recognition panels.

Safety Rules & Guidelines

NCDOT has established rules and training to ensure the safety of everyone who participates in the AAH Program

View the safety videos below that every AAH Volunteer group member must view before participating in an AAH cleanup.

When participating in the AAH Program, participants must:

  • Watch the Safety Video - required of all persons involved in an AAH Cleanup.
  • Be 12 years old or older. AAH Volunteers 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.
  • Wear orange safety vests - provided by NCDOT - heavy work gloves, substantial shoes or boots and brightly colored clothing that covers the arms and legs.
  • Never wear or bring along items that could distract motorists or impair a driver's or volunteer's vision or hearing.
  • Work should be performed during daylight hours and in good weather. Stop work during inclement weather.
  • Work one side of the road at a time while facing oncoming traffic.
  • Stay at least five feet away from the edge of the road.
  • Avoid overexertion and stay clear of mowing operations, construction and maintenance work.
  • Watch for snakes, stinging insects, and poisonous plants.
  • Do not overfill trash bags to avoid injuries.
  • Never pick up discarded syringes, needles, or other hazardous objects. When these items are encountered, contact NCDOT to arrange safe removal of the material.
  • Carpool to the cleanup site. Vehicles must be parked clear of the roadway and on the same side of the road where volunteers are working.

Contact Information

Litter Management
(800) 331-5864
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