(CBS Detroit) — The first Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) litter pickup of the year will begin this week.

Groups of volunteers will clean up different state highway roadsides from Saturday, April 17 to Sunday, April 25.

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Photo courtesy MDOT Photo

“Our thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers deserve thanks for helping to save taxpayer dollars while keeping Michigan roadsides clean,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Their community spirit and pride make a huge difference. We ask all motorists to keep an eye out for these volunteers and drive cautiously during the pickup periods.”

Litter pickups occur three times a year, with a statewide summer pickup happening from July 17 to 25 and a fall pickup happening from September 25 to October 3.

The first AAH pickup for the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be from May 1 to 9, when spring has had more time to set in.

Photo courtesy MDOT Photo

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The AAH program began in Michigan in 1990. Since the program’s beginnings, volunteers usually collect 60,000 to 70,000 bags of trash annually, an estimated $5 million value for the state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first pickup of 2020 was canceled, but the summer and fall pickups still happened. During these two pickups, volunteers collected 20,000 bags of trash. The numbers were down from previous years, but the program organizers speculate that this happened because fewer groups were able to participate.

Photo courtesy MDOT Photo

MDOT provides volunteers with highly visible, yellow-green safety vests, trash bags, and arranges to pick up all of the trash bags. Each group must consist of at least three people, and crew members must be at least 12 years old to volunteer. Masks are required to be worn when a distance of 6 feet from others not within the same household cannot be maintained.

Sections of highways are still available for adoption and there is no fee to participate. MDOT asks groups to adopt sections for at least two years.

For more information, visit www.Michigan.gov/AdoptAHighway.

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