The Adopt-A-Highway Program is turning 30 this year.

MoDOT officials noted the milestone for the litter prevention program recently, with a celebration in Jefferson City featuring area Adopt-A-Highway volunteers.

According to a press release from MoDOT, the program started in Texas, in the mid-80s, as an effort to involve citizens to help clean state highways. Missouri followed in 1987. Today, there are more than 5,200 groups and 50,000 volunteers participate in the program, and more than 6,200 miles of roadway have been adopted in Missouri.

Adopter groups include commercial and private enterprises, civic and non-profit organizations, families, and individuals. Adopters perform about $1 million a year in litter cleanup and beautification efforts, according to MoDOT.

“This extra help allows us to devote resources to other much needed tasks,” said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. Participants in the program have four options: clean up litter; mow; beautify through landscaping or plant native Missouri wildflowers and grasses.

MoDOT provides adopters with a certificate of appreciation, safety training and materials, and a sign with the group’s name posted on each end of the adopted highway section. MoDOT also provides trash bags and pick up and disposal.

Adopters must agree to adopt at least a half-mile of urban roadside or two miles of rural roadside; collect litter at least four times a year; sign a three-year agreement; submit an activity report to MoDOT, and follow all safety procedures.

If anyone is interested in volunteering for the Adopt-A-Highway program, visit modot.org.