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The original Adopt-a-Highway program began right here in Texas in 1985. Since then, it’s grown into a nationally and internationally recognized litter-prevention effort, saving taxpayers’ dollars and keeping our rights of way clean.
Adopt-a-Highway currently has more than 4,000 participating groups across the state, and we salute those thousands of individuals who dedicate their time to actively make a difference and keep Texas beautiful.
In 1984, James R. "Bobby" Evans, an engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Tyler District, was driving through Tyler one day when he observed debris blowing out of the bed of the pickup truck he was following.
Alarmed by the incident and concerned that the cost of picking up litter was increasing at an annual rate of 15 to 20 percent, Evans began appealing to local groups to "adopt" a section of highway. His initial challenge went unanswered.
It wasn't long before Billy Black, Public Information Officer for TxDOT's Tyler District, became involved in developing the Adopt-a-Highway program. Black was responsible not only for creating a quarterly cleanup cycle for adopting organizations, but also for implementing the initial concept, which included furnishing volunteer safety training, reflective vests and equipment -- and for erecting the well-known Adopt-a-Highway roadside signs that recognize adopters.
The Tyler Civitan Club soon became the first group to volunteer, adopting a two-mile stretch of Highway 69.
- Claire Ronner
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