Douglas County Adopt-a-Highway program covers 63 percent of county roads
Despite "going green" and environmentally conscious efforts across the globe, people still toss trash out their windows along the highway. Douglas County has endorsed a resolution to support the Minnesota Department of Transportation Adopt-a-Highway program.
"It's a good program," said Douglas County Public Works Director/County Engineer Dave Robley. "It's amazing how much garbage is out there."
The Douglas County public works department has coordinated the Adopt-a-Highway program since 1990. Currently, there are 145 volunteer groups monitoring 347 of 550 miles of county road. Robley said a lot of the miles that are not yet adopted are on remote gravel roads.
Last year, 1,594 bags of garbage were collected. Volunteer groups dispose of the refuse and some take the time to separate the recyclable aluminum and glass. Volunteers visit their sites twice a year and clean a minimum 2-mile stretch of road.
Typical items like fast food wrappers, cans, glass and tires are found each year. Other trash discovered over the decades includes diapers, clothing, furniture, a mattress, a television, a bike, car parts and construction materials. In 2009, one group found a safe.
"It's absolutely saved us lots of money," said Commissioner Bev Bales. "We're certainly appreciative [of volunteers]."
For information on how to participate in Adopt-a-Highway in Douglas County, call Pat Heldt at (320) 762-2999.
Some county roads are going to see a bit more traffic this construction season. Douglas County has entered into an agreement with the state of Minnesota to allow a 7.8 mile detour from Highway 78 along County State Aid Highways (CSAH) 82 and 41 in the northwest corner of the county. The state will pay approximately $5,000 (up to a maximum of $15,000) to the county for use of the roadways.
Pioneer Road and CSAH 46 in Alexandria is prepping for additional traffic as well. The city of Alexandria and Douglas County have entered into a traffic control signal agreement prior to completion of the new high school, Alexandria Area High School, in 2014. Douglas County will be responsible for installation of the traffic light; the city will provide electrical power supply. The county and city will each pay for half of the construction cost, which is estimated at $225,000. Costs will be covered by state aid funds.
Continuing countywide beautification, commissioners adopted a resolution providing that 20 percent of receipts collected in 2013 from the sale of tax forfeited land will be used to acquire and maintain Douglas County parks and recreational areas.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.