Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Adopt a Highway

A program that turns community involvement into cleaner roadsides

Volunteers should plan ahead

MnDOT’s vests are fluorescent yellow with vertical and horizontal silver bands of retro-reflective tape.
Picture of a man wearing an Adopt a Highway vest.

Before heading out

  • Select a clear day to do the picking. Work only during daylight hours and during good weather. Do not work when roads are wet or when visibility is poor.
  • Picking may be restricted on or near holidays or other times when very heavy traffic occurs
  • Assign work teams and leaders before you reach the site
  • Distribute trash bags to each volunteer beforehand
  • Bring a first aid kit and a cell phone.
  • Identify the nearest hospital and know how to get there in an emergency. Make sure your tetanus shots are up to date.
  • Bring heavy work gloves, light-colored clothing, brightly covered cap and heavy leather shoes or work boots with good ankle support.
  • Put on sunscreen and insect or tick repellent. Or, wear a hat and long sleeves to avoid sunburn.
  • Volunteers must wear safety vests. Make sure you have enough vests for everyone.
  • Review safety precautions every time you go out and take them seriously

While you work

  • Always wear your safety vest. Motorists must be able to see you.
  • Use proper bags for picking up trash.
  • Work one side of the road at a time. Do not cross the road to get to your vehicle.
  • Face the traffic while you work.
  • Stay in a group and be constantly alert for approaching traffic
  • Use cell phones to communicate among work teams
  • All-terrain vehicles are allowed as long as they are used in accordance with existing laws
  • Bring along a supply of drinking water and take break.
  • Secure the bags by tying the ends. Place the bags near the shoulder, but not on the shoulder.
  • Do not crush collected trash to make more room in the bag; broken or jagged objects can cause injuries.
  • Schedule the pickups for MnDOT when the weather is good
  • Groups are encouraged to recycle materials for their own benefit

MnDOT's role

An example of the sign MnDOT will put up for volunteer groups.

MnDOT still has a role in helping volunteers keep roadsides clean. MnDOT will:

  • Remove filled bags from the roadsides
  • Remove large, heavy or hazardous items.
  • Erect a 3’ x 5’ highway sign to recognize a group’s commitment. The sign legend is the name of your group only, not its message. It is limited to two lines of 15 characters including spaces and punctuation.