Office of Maintenance
Other Adopt a Highway Programs
- International Adopt a Highway Association
- North Carolina
Recycling and Waste Reduction Reports
Help clean up Minnesota
Volunteers keep safe
and follow our guidelines:
Here’s a simple way to hold your bag open while you work. Find a stick that’s about 1 foot long and 1 inch in diameter. Place the stick on the outside of your bag a few inches from the top. Fold the bag over the stick a couple of times. You can now hold the bag by the stick.
A highway is a dangerous place to be. Every crew member should possess these qualifications:
- At least 12 years of age, unless otherwise permitted.
- Mentally alert, good common sense.
- Good physical condition, including sight and hearing.
- Up-to-date tetanus shot.
- Sense of responsibility for safety of self and others.
- Supervision for workers under age 18. Provide at least 1 adult per 3 children under age 12.
- Review safety precautions every time you go out and take them seriously.
- Schedule pickups when the weather is good.
- Assign work teams and leaders before you reach the site. Distribute trash bags beforehand. Use cell phones to communicate among work teams.
- 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.
- Don’t overexert yourself. Bring along a supply of drinking water and take breaks
- Carpool to the site.
- Whenever possible, park in a nearby parking lot or seldom used approach to a farmer’s field.
- If you must park on the shoulder, park as far as possible to the right of the white line.
- Park on the same side of highway that you’re picking so motorists see your vehicle before they see you.
- Never park along an interstate highway. If you’ve adopted an interstate, contact MnDOT for specific parking instructions.
- Heavy work gloves
- Heavy leather shoes or work boots with good ankle support
- Light-colored clothing, brightly colored cap to help motorists see you
- Hat and long sleeves to avoid sunburn
- Sunscreen, insect or tick repellent
- Safety vest.
THIS IS MANDATORY.
Adopt a Highway volunteers are required to wear safety vests that meet the FHWA requirements for retro-reflectivity and are ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 compliant. MnDOT’s vests are fluorescent yellow with vertical and horizontal silver bands of retro-reflective tape. The high-visibility color and the retro-reflective tape help make litter crews more visible to passing motorists.
Volunteers are required to wear the approved vests but are reminded to remain vigilant to traffic when working on the roadside. And motorists should always be alert to workers on the right-of-way. It is important for workers to see motorists, but it is critical that motorists see workers.
Adopt a Highway volunteers should keep their vests for the duration of their commitment, including renewals. If a group withdraws from the program, they are asked to return the vests to MnDOT.
- Always wear your safety vest. Motorists must be able to see you.
- Do not pick up needles, weapons, hazardous materials, dead animals or water bottles of urine. Mark the location with a trash bag and report it to Mn/DOT.
- Do not put syringes or needles in the trash bag. They can easily puncture the bag and cause serious injury. Mark the location with a trash bag and report it to MnDOT. Do not crush collected trash to make more room in the bag; broken or jagged objects can cause injuries.
- Secure the bags by tying the ends. Place the bags just off the shoulder. Work only during daylight hours and during good weather. Do not work when roads are wet or when visibility is poor.
- Work one side of the road at a time. Do not cross the road to get to your vehicle.
- Do not pick up litter in the median.
- Face the traffic while you work.
- Stay in a group and be constantly alert for approaching traffic.
- Do not wear headsets that could prevent you from hearing traffic or other hazards.
- Do not horse around or do anything to purposely distract drivers.
- All-terrain vehicles are allowed as long as they are used in accordance with existing laws.
- Stay away from construction sites and highway work zones, including recently seeded areas.
- Avoid mowing activities, open water, ravines, bridges, overpasses or retaining walls that could be dangerous for pedestrians.
- Watch for broken glass, sharp metal objects and boards with exposed nails.
- Avoid poison ivy, wild parsnip, or other noxious weeds. Stay away from recently applied herbicides.
- Never pick up heavy, large or hazardous materials. Mark the location and notify MnDOT for pickup.
- Do not pick up dead animals. If the animal is small, leave it for scavengers. If it is large, note the location and report it to MnDOT. If you see a pile of woodchips or compost, you can assume it's covering a dead deer. Leave it alone and nature will take care of it.
- Do not move explosives, abandoned barrels or other containers with unknown contents. Note the location and contact MnDOT.
Never pick up meth lab wastes. Propane cylinders from gas grills are especially dangerous. They are used to transport anhydrous ammonia and can explode, causing burns and severe respiratory damage. DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Report their location to MnDOT.
Meth wastes to avoid:
- Propane cylinders with brass fittings that are blue/green or modified
- Medicine boxes
- Pill residue (pinkish putty-like substance)
- Respirator masks
- Rubber gloves
- Rubber hoses and clamps
- Sheets and pillowcases stained pink or red
- Corning or Pyrex containers with rubber hoses attached