A lot has changed over the last few months, but there is still a need for volunteers to help keep Arizona looking its best. Last weekend about 50 volunteers in Heber-Overgaard cleaned portions of state routes 260 and 277 as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program.
The Aug. 1 cleanup was initiated by the Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce, which recently adopted a 2-mile segment of SR 260. The chamber was joined by Heber-Overgaard Fire and EMS, the Ponderosa Lions Club, NAPA Auto Parts of Overgaard and other community members. Each of these Adopt a Highway groups cleaned their respective highway segments and covered a total of 12 miles during the two-hour event.
Adopt a Highway volunteers help keep shoulders along state highways clean while saving taxpayers money. During the Aug. 1 event, volunteers gathered 80 bags of trash weighing 1,095 pounds. Chamber members say they adopted a stretch of SR 260 because they want Heber-Overgaard to put its best foot forward.
“We have a large influx during the summertime of individuals who come up to visit and that’s really good for our economy,” said Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce Board Member Tania Rush. “Having a nice clean area for people to enjoy and see makes a big difference with visitors.”
Volunteers say they take pride in their community and want the entrance to their town to be pristine.
“We’ve been doing it for 19 years and it’s something our crews actually enjoy because it shows their dedication and appreciation for the community,” said Heber-Overgaard Fire District Chief William McCluskey.
Picking up litter along the highway is one volunteer opportunity that allows participants to properly social distance and follow COVID-related health recommendations.
“The safety and health of Adopt a Highway volunteers is always a priority,” said Adopt a Highway Manager Mary Currie. “We encourage volunteers to keep groups to less than 10 people, social distance and wear masks. The generosity of volunteers to adopt just two miles and remove litter is a commitment that creates a significant increase in the beautification of our communities.”
Last year about 10,000 volunteers cleaned nearly 2,000 miles of shoulders along state highways as part of the Adopt a Highway program, ADOT says. This resulted in a $586,000 taxpayer savings and 16,000 bags of litter removed from Arizona highways.
Learn more at www.azdot.gov/adoptahighway.