PDT Staff Writer
Volunteers were out in the medians and on the shoulders of Kentucky's highways this week, a special "Fall Sweep" week set aside for picking up trash and debris as part of the state's highly successful Adopt-a-Highway program.
In its 20th year, Adopt-a-Highway now has 1,100 groups participating. They clean about 8,000 miles of roadsides annually, said Allen Blair, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cab-inet's District 9.
The district includes Greenup County and so far, Blair said, 31 percent of Greenup County's roads have been adopted.
Volunteers adopt 2-mile sections of highway under a two-year, renewable contract with the cabinet's Department of Highways.
Any permanently established business, association, community or public organization or government entity can adopt a stretch of highway. Groups that are participating in the program across the state include homemaker clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops, high school organizations, service clubs, veterans, college fraternities and sororities, sports teams and church groups.
The state recognizes the groups by posting signs stating, "This section of highway adopted by ..."
Litter pickups are conducted four times a year. The cabinet coordinates three annual clean-up efforts such as the one that took place this week.
Trash bags and safety vests can be picked up at the state highway maintenance garage in each county. Pickup of the bags of litter collected is handled by state highway crews.
Adopt-a-Highway coordinators work with groups in locating an available stretch of highway.
Thousands of taxpayer dollars are being saved by Adopt-a-Highway volunteer groups, Transportation Secretary Joe Prather said in a prepared statement.
"Every year the cabinet spends about $5 million and 200,000 worker hours to remove nearly 100,000 bags of litter from Kentucky roadways," Prather said. "These volunteer adopters improve the scenic beauty of our state, establish a sense of pride, and send a message that throwing trash out the car windows is simply unacceptable in the commonwealth."
Groups and organizations in Greenup County and surrounding counties can get information on how to proceed by calling Jenny Perkins at the District 9 headquarters in Flemingsburg, (800) 817-2551.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.