Virginia Adopt-a-Highway Program in Full Spring Swing

By Posted on Apr 21 2011 | By

VDOT Sponsored Effort Keeps Highways & Byways Green

America the Beautiful.  Originally written as a poem in 1895—and later published as the iconic anthem in 1910—the song has come to embody the stunningly beautiful USA landscape.

Now You See It...

And yet the challenge in keeping the “Beautiful” in America is daunting.  With a population of 310 million citizens and over eight million miles of roads, litter is ubiquitous along the Nation’s thoroughfares.  Here in Virginia, plastic bags, beer bottles & cans and fast food detritus aggressively compete with Spring’s colorful Redbud and Dogwood for roadside presence.

It’s difficult to grasp why littering occurs.  How does anyone in good conscience roll down their window and toss garbage onto an artist’s palette?  Ignorance?  Indifference?  Entitlement?

Who knows.  It simply happens.

Fortunately, all fifty states have created volunteer programs to assist in keeping its highway systems clean.  In Virginia, the Virginia Department of Transportation sponsors our statewide effort.  Last year, volunteers contributed 31,800 hours of their time collecting 26,300 bags of trash, while scouring over 1,900 miles of highway.  Not only are Old Dominion roads more scenic because of their efforts, but state coffers are given some relief in this era of budgetary cuts.

...Now You Don't.

Rappahannock Cellars contributes in a small way to the enormous effort.  For the past five years, the winery has volunteered to maintain three miles of Route 522 in the immediate area of its tasting room.

On a recent sunny April weekday, management and staff from the winery collected twenty-five bright orange bags of trash.  Marketing Manager Allan Delmare says, “Its a bit crazy to claim we had fun collecting trash.  But honestly, it’s not the nasty job you’d imagine it is. You’re outside on a nice day making a noticeable impact on something you drive by every morning. Our commitment to preserving Virginia’s farmland through sustainable agriculture doesn’t end at our vineyard fence. Besides, it’s rewarding to look down that long stretch of highway and see green roadsides.”

Green indeed.  Not only for the trash collectors but for the wayfarers traveling through beautiful Rappahannock County.

For individuals or groups considering adopting a stretch of Virginia highway, visit VDOT’s web site.  Or call 1-800-FOR-Road (1-800-367-7623).  Once you’ve submitted an application and VDOT approves it, signs will be placed on the highway crediting your group with the adoption.  You will obtain safety vests and collection bags from your local VDOT office.

So are immediately cleaner roads the only benefit to the program?  Not entirely.  Research has shown that maintained highways produce less litter in the long run.  And seeing volunteers at work along the roads often makes motorists think twice before carelessly discarding trash.

So grab those orange bags.  “America the Beautiful” is your song to sing.

The Orange Brigade




Categories : HAGARTY TALES