Adopt-A-Highway program

Highway maintenance | Roadsides | Adopt-A-Highway | Safety | Clean up Hazards | Apply for a segment | Report a clean-up | Abandon a segment | Contacts

Adopt A Highway

Help keep Wisconsin's roadsides beautiful!

WisDOT's Adopt-A-Highway program is the official coordination system for the generous volunteer efforts to remove trash, recyclables and litter from Wisconsin's roadsides. There are roughly 11,800 miles of state, federal and interstate highways in Wisconsin, and a large portion of the roadside areas are kept beautiful by Adopt-a-Highway volunteers.

WisDOT does not manage volunteer cleanup work on local and county roads. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the local and county governments for more information.

Below is an interactive map of adoptable road segments WisDOT manages. Please review the map to find an adoptable segment.

Adopt-A-Highway helps:

  • Reduce litter along Wisconsin's highways
  • Build statewide support for the anti-litter and highway beautification programs
  • Educate the traveling public to properly dispose of litter
  • Enhance the environment and beautify Wisconsin's roadsides
View larger app

  • Each qualified group takes responsibility for litter control on approximately a two mile segment of state highway.
  • The group picks up litter on this segment at least three times per year between April 1 and November 1.
  • The Adopt-A-Highway program emphasizes safety. It is important to be very careful when working on the roadsides. For more information, view the Adopt-A-Highway Safety page.
  • Groups do not work in dangerous areas like medians, bridges, or steep slopes.
  • Work is permitted until the group notifies the department of their intent to abandon their segment.

  • Any group organized for some special purpose or task can be a sponsor.
  • Each group must provide one adult supervisor for every five or six volunteers.
  • All volunteers must be at least 11 years of age or in the 6th grade. No other persons should be on the work site.

  • The department furnishes safety vests, portable "people working" signs, the safety training video, trash bags, trash bag pick-up and disposal, and two acknowledgment signs marking your highway.
  • The department will install the sign announcing your group's litter control sponsorship. This installation takes approximately 90 days from the order of the sign.
  • Names must fit within the maximum of three lines.
  • WisDOT reserves the right to work with the sponsors in revising group names or acronyms that may be offensive to the public. Sign names are not allowed to be phrases for gaining political influence.
  • Acknowledgment sponsor signs must abide by Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Section 2H.08 Acknowledgment Signs. The sign cannot contain contact information, directions, slogans, emails, telephone numbers, text numbers, or internet addresses.
  • Sponsoring organizations chosen sign name must comply with State laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, and other applicable laws.
  • No fees will be charged to groups accepted into the Adopt-a-Highway program.

  • Groups interested in adopting a highway need to identify a segment of road they would like to adopt on the interactive map above.
  • Once you find a segment(s) you would like to adopt, complete the apply for a segment online form and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Once the local Adopt-A-Highway Regional Coordinator has confirmed your request they will get back to you with the approved segment and further information.
  • If you have question reach out to your appropriate Adopt-A-Highway Regional Coordinator. The location is based on the County you plan to adopt in.
  • Adopt-A-Highway segments are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Your group may be placed on a waiting list if all available highway segments are already reserved or if the amount of applications received exceeds available funding for signs and supplies.
  • Once your application is digitally signed and approved by the Department this becomes your permit to work on the right of way and your assigned segment in the Adopt-A-Highway litter control program.
  • After all group participants have reviewed the safety training video Adopt-A-Highway Safety Tips video and acquired the proper safety gear, vest and "people working" signs, you may begin cleaning your assigned segment.
  • Approved permits are effective indefinitely or until the department receives an abandon a segment submission from your group. This notice tells the department your group has decided to cease its clean up activities. That segment will then be made available to others wishing to Adopt-A-Highway.