Adopt a Roadway
It all started on a stretch of Texas highway in 1985. Today, 49 states, along with six Canadian provinces, New Zealand and Puerto Rico had instituted Adopt-a-Highway programs that put one million volunteers to work along the road.
To speak with someone about adopting a roadway in Comal County, please call 830-608-2090.
The Adopt-a-Roadway program is designed to help beautify Comal County by facilitating trash removal on County roadways. Volunteer groups participating in the program save the taxpayers of Comal County approximately $250 per mile cleaned, which translates into thousands of dollars saved. By adopting a roadway, civic and other nonprofit organizations help to generate pride in their community and create economic benefits to all citizens of Comal County
How it Works
Through the Adopt-a-Roadway Program, nonprofit organizations make
a two-year commitment to pick up litter at least twice a year along
a stretch of county roadway. The areas of responsibility are marked
with two signs bearing the organization's name.
How to Participate
Organizations interested in the Adopt-a-Roadway Program may become involved by contacting the AAR Coordinator at the Comal County Road Department at 830-608-2090 or by submitting a request online. A packet of materials will be mailed to each interested party. Included in the packet are the program policies and procedures.
Group supervisor must attend safety training prior to the first clean-up.
Adhere to all Comal County Safety Rules and Regulations.
Complete at least two clean-ups of entire adopted roadway per year. Schedule each clean-up at least two weeks prior to clean-up date.
Obtain safety vests and trash bags at Comal County designated facility.
Return safety vests and unused trash bags to Comal County designated
facility within two working days after clean-up completion.
Approve roadway selection based on traffic volumes, speeds and shoulder widths.
Provide safety training and safety rules and regulations to organization's group supervisor for distribution to program participants.
Supply safety vests and trash bags for use by volunteer organizations.
Remove filled trash bags from roadside and dispose of properly.
Erect signs identifying the name of volunteer organization.
Comal County reserves the right to approve, disapprove and/or edit names or acronyms on the signs.
Safety Rules and Regulations
Safety of the volunteers is the number one priority of the Adopt-a-Roadway Program. All volunteers must receive proper safety training prior to arriving at the job site to perform any clean-up activities. The following guidelines are designed to help ensure the safety of each volunteer and must be adhered to at all times.
All participants must be at least 14 years of age. For every 10 teenagers participating, there must be one adult supervisor at least 21 years of age.
Clean-up activities must be scheduled through the Adopt-a-Roadway Coordinator and must be performed only in daylight hours and during good weather conditions.
Supervisors of both adult and youth groups should be assigned prior to departing for the work site.
Participants should assemble away from the designated work site and carpool to reduce the number of cars at the litter pick-up site. Vehicles must be parked at least four feet away from the roadway.
Large groups of 15 or more should be divided into two groups, with one group on each side of the roadway. Individuals must remain with the group to which they are assigned.
Wear appropriate attire, including boots or hard-soled shoes (no sandals), comfortable clothes, gloves and hats.
Safety vests must be worn by all participants at all times during the litter pick-up project.
Assure that first-aid kits are available, and it is recommended that at least one person is experienced in administering first aid and CPR and that transportation is available to the nearest medical facility.
Work as a group facing oncoming traffic at all times.
Assure that water is available and in sufficient quantity to meet your group's needs.
Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited. Anyone under the influence of alcohol or narcotics shall be asked to leave the work site.
Do not cross the roadway unnecessarily. Cross only at the designated locations that your supervisor has determined prior to starting work.
Do not pick up litter in the medians or on any traveled portion of the roadway.
Utility installations, culverts and drainage structures are off limits. Do not remove litter from these areas.
Use caution when you encounter the following: cactus, animals, steep slopes, sharp rocks, insects, barbed wire, traffic, and other unusual circumstances.
Do not pick up hazardous materials such as car batteries, animal carcasses, discarded chemical containers, or any object that appears questionable. Report these materials to your supervisor.
Do not distract motorists with horseplay or abrupt, erratic movements. Horseplay of any kind is strictly forbidden. The roadways are potentially very dangerous.
When lifting objects use correct lifting techniques, keeping your back as straight as possible. Keep the object you are trying to lift close to your body and let your legs do the work. Do not attempt to lift heavy objects that two of you cannot reasonably lift.
Before cleaning, we suggest you watch TxDOT's Adopt-a-Highway Safety Video
Click to view video
How do I adopt?
Contact Comal Counties Adopt-a-Highway coordinator at 830-608-2090 to find out whether or not the stretch of road you’re interested in is available. The coordinator will give you an overview of the program and send you an application. Once you have completed and submitted the application, and it has been approved, you can obtain the safety vests, and bags.
How long of a stretch do I have to clean?
We ask that you adopt a minimum of two (2) miles. In special cases, the adoption might be shorter.
How many people does a group need?
As many as it takes. We recommend you involve enough people so that the pickups are manageable. We do have individuals who have made solo adoptions and are comfortable picking up their area by themselves.
Is it difficult to keep the roadsides clean?
That depends largely on the traffic volume, the location of the road, the size of your group and the frequency of your pick-ups. Most report that their pickups are not particularly taxing. But if you’re an individual who has adopted a highly traveled road on the way to a landfill, you may have your work cut out for you.
What's in it for me?
With your name on an Adopt-a-Highway sign, you’ll be recognized as a community member who takes action. You’ll receive Comal County's full support in achieving clean roadsides, not just with a supply of bags and vests, but by also having a friendly ear at our local office. You’ll also be part of an effort that was pioneered right here in Texas.
How does the actual cleanup work?
Start by setting a date and time convenient for all who want to participate. Be sure that the pickup is in the daylight, and avoid rush hour. Gather the group before starting to pass out the safety vests and orange bags. Check to see that everyone has gloves and closed-toe shoes, then take a few minutes to review basic safety issues. At that point you should be ready to start bagging trash.
What should we do with our bags?
When the pickup is completed, try to gather the bags in one or two places. If groups can't remove the collected trash, they should notify the local county office before a pickup, so that removal of the bags can be scheduled for the following workday. In either case make sure to report the number of participants and bags collected to Adopt-a-Roadway coordinator.
How often are we supposed to clean our roadside?
Participants in Adopt-a-Highway agree to clean their adopted stretch of highway at least four times a year for two years. Some pick up more frequently. If you conduct the pickups at regular intervals, you can get a sense of how much littering is done for a period, and then adjust your schedule to keep pace.
Can a sign say whatever we want it to?
No. Signs are generally for the name of those conducting the clean ups. The intention is to recognize you, not your message.
Is it okay to advertise our business by adopting a highway?
Yes. However, business names on signs need to be the actual name of the business with no additional advertising information. For example: B.J. Smith, A Tree-Cutting Service wouldn’t be allowed if A Tree-Cutting Service wasn’t part of the business name.
How much of a difference does adopting make?
Adopt-a-Highway volunteers clean more than 14,000 miles of highways . The maintenance cost per mile for Adopt-a-Highway roads is about $40 annually, versus $196 per mile for contracted maintenance. Research has shown that Adopt-a-Highway roadsides are less littered than highways maintained by road crews. Children and young adults who pick up litter with family and friends learn valuable lessons that can lead to life-long environmental awareness. Seeing volunteers at work along the road often makes motorists think twice before carelessly discarding their trash.