The 'Greening' of Idaho 75

When Susan and Ron Green and their friends decided to make a visual impact on their community, they could have chosen a lot of highway segments to clean… segments that were far less challenging than Idaho Highway 75 between mileposts 121 and 123.

But they were not deterred. Not by its proximity to the landfill and its propensity for collecting garbage. Not by the stuff intended for the landfill that never quite made it, that blows off or falls off of trucks and trailers.

It’s a big job for a small crew. Steve Cole, Hailey maintenance foreman, said the group has done a remarkable job cleaning the high-traffic area for just two dedicated volunteers and a small cadre of friends.

In five outings and just over a year of cleaning, the Greens and their small group, collected about 2,700 pounds of litter on Idaho 75. “They really deserve the title, District 4 Adopt-A-Highway Group of the Year,” Cole said.

The Idaho Transportation Board offered its thanks during a special segment of the monthly business meeting in Twin Falls this week to recognize the Greens and their cohorts as the district’s top Adopt-A-Highway group. In appreciation, the board presented a framed certificate and a clock fashioned from a sample Idaho license plate.

ITD’s statewide Adopt-A-Highway program organizes the cleaning of Idaho roadsides by volunteer groups.

Those groups “adopt” a specific stretch of highway – usually two miles long – and take responsibility for keeping it clean through regular litter patrols. 

Approximately 1,100 groups spent nearly 60,500-person hours statewide removing litter in 2009, collecting an estimated 1.5 million pounds of litter from Idaho’s roadsides. More than half of Idaho’s highways have been adopted, leaving ample opportunities for other groups and individuals to become involved.

The volume of material collected makes a tremendous difference in the appearance of Idaho’s highways, said Sweaney, statewide AAH coordinator.

The estimated value of the cleanup labor is equivalent to more than $730,000 – savings that can be applied to other projects, improving highway safety and driving conditions. For more information about adopting a stretch of highway, contact Sweaney at (800) 443-2878.

Published 9-17-2010