Adopt a Highway: What are those Adopt a Highway signs all about?

Adopt a Highway: What are those Adopt a Highway signs all about?

By Mary Currie / ADOT Communications
July 13, 2021

You may have noticed them while traveling on the interstate, state highways in Arizona. Adopt a Highway recognition signs bearing the name of a volunteer group, a loved one memorialized or a local business sponsoring litter cleanup are all along our roadways. 

The signs represent the adopters or caretakers of a two-mile segment of state highway. Volunteers who represent those signs are a priceless resource that helps keep Arizona’s highways clean. 

Filled blue bags that are spotted in the shadow of an Adopt a Highway sign or lined up nearby are a sure sign of recent volunteer activity, and an unfortunate reminder of the volume of trash that accumulates along highways.

The Arizona Department of Transportation manages two litter abatement options for volunteers. Volunteer signs vary too and are explained a bit more here:

The Adopt a Highway Volunteer program applies to civic-minded individuals, families, churches and other groups who may receive a two year permit to clean up roadside litter on segments of roadway deemed safe for volunteers. Groups reporting three or more cleanups per year receive Outstanding Volunteer Status as shown in the photos. 

Volunteer groups may submit a request for a sign bearing the name of the group. One clean up is required prior to ADOT placing a group recognition sign. Group leaders are given instructions for contacting the nearest maintenance facility to pick up litter bags and safety vests to be used during ADOT cleanups.

ADOT maintenance crews count on groups to notify them of the date of the cleanup and how many bags of trash were collected. An ADOT crews is then dispatched to pick up and dispose of the filled


The Adopt a Highway Sponsor program is geared toward civic-minded individuals and businesses that will contract directly with a program approved maintenance provider to clean roadside litter for a fee. Sponsor adopted segments include urban area highways that experience a large volume of traffic and litter, and are unsafe for volunteers. Sponsor program signs are recognized by the full color business logo. Contracted maintenance crews collect litter on behalf of the sponsor at the adopted segment and dispose of the collected litter as part of the adoption agreement.

Nearly 23.7 billion pieces of litter are left on 8.3 million miles of roadways in the United States equaling 2,855 pieces per mile. This equates to about 73 littered items per person nationwide.

We invite you to be a part of positive change by joining a volunteer or sponsor program to help keep our highways beautiful. Please contact us for more information.

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