Trashy commute: MDOT, Adopt-a-Highway crews preparing for spring clean-up

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The  spring thaw has revealed an unsightly mess along some stretches of West Michigan roadways.

But trash collecting along the road shoulders won't be an eyesore for long, with Adopt-a-Highway volunteers and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) crews preparing to begin the annual spring clean-up.

Following FOX 17's phone calls, MDOT spokesperson John Richard said maintenance crews plan to be out on streets near downtown Grand Rapids beginning Thursday morning to pick up trash.

Clean-up times for Adopt-a-Highway volunteers are scheduled between April 11-19 in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas. Another clean-up period is scheduled for mid-summer and early fall.

Click here to find out when Adopt-a-Highway volunteer groups are meeting in your area. Forms to sign up to become a volunteer can be found here.

"There's a lot of trash out there and a lot of miles to be covered so it’s going to take a while for crews to get out there and pick it all up," Richard said.

"It's definitely not Pure Michigan, it's quite unsightly.”

For the areas volunteers can't cover, MDOT works with local sheriff's departments to use volunteer inmates and also works closely with local road commissions to cover more high-risk areas near highways.

"There are some areas on the highway where we don't want volunteers, we don't want prisoners for safety reasons and that's where we work with the road commission because those guys are used to being all over our system," Richard said.

In Kent County, roughly 80 percent of the highways have been adopted, according to Richard. In year's past, MDOT said volunteers have collected more than 70,000 bags of trash, saving taxpayers more than $5.5 million in clean-up costs.

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