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This program authorizes volunteer groups or individual "Adopters" to pick up litter and recyclables along County right-of-ways, and to recognize them for their efforts to improve the appearance of the community and decrease the amount of debris that washes into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) reserves the right to:

  • Limit the number of adoptions by a single adopter
  • Restrict the language used on road signs designating the adopted sections of roadway
  • Terminate the agreement and remove the signs if during the term of the agreement, it is determined that the Adopter is not meeting the conditions of the agreement
  • Terminate the agreement and remove the signs if no program activity has occurred within six months of the posting of the signs 

Any decisions made by DPWT in implementing, administering and, if appropriate, terminating any agreement under the Adopt-A-Road program shall be final and not subject to appeal.

Who May Participate

Eligible adopters include:

  • Civic and nonprofit organizations—Local chapters of national organizations must provide a written statement, from the national organization, which authorizes the local group to use the name proposed for the sign and which identifies the individuals from the local chapter authorized to enter into agreements on behalf of the local organization.
  • Commercial and private enterprises
  • Families
  • Individuals
  • School groups

Adopter Requirements

The adoption shall be for a period of two years, with renewal for another two-year term upon mutual consent. Participants are required of the following:

  • Paperwork
    • Application—Must have an approved Adopt-A-Road application on file, and sign an Adopt-A-Road Pilot Program Agreement with DPWT.
    • Waiver—Each participant must complete the written volunteer waiver provided which releases Baltimore County, DPWT, the Bureaus within DPWT, their officials, employees, contractors and agents from any liability whatsoever arising from the volunteer’s participation in the Adopt-A-Road program. Parents or guardians of minors may complete the waiver on their behalf. Participation in the program shall constitute a waiver of any claim or cause of action of liability against Baltimore County and the entities named above.
  • Age Requirements
    • Participants Under 18—Written parental or guardian permission is required.
    • Participants Under 16—Must be supervised by adults (at least one adult for every five participants under 16).
    • Children Under 12—Not allowed at, or in vehicles parked at, the clean-up location.
  • Training—Each participant must attend a safety training session conducted by DPWT, or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT, or by the group’s Adopt-A-Road Coordinator.
  • Frequency—Pick up litter and recyclables from the adopted sections of roadway at least four times per year.
  • Bag Requirements
    • Non-recyclable material shall be collected in the trash bags provided.
    • Adopters must take primary responsibility for the removal of filled trash and recyclables bags. DPWT may, upon request, arrange for their removal.
  • Traffic Laws—Observe all traffic laws and regulations
  • Safety Equipment—The Adopter is responsible for replacing required safety vests, safety signs and any other items provided by DPWT, if they are lost or damaged.
  • Pets—Not allowed at, or in vehicles parked at, the clean-up location.
  • No Trespassing—Confine clean-up activity to the roadside only, do not trespass onto private property.

Coordinator Role Requirements

One adult member must be designated as the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator. This person will be the point of contact between the Adopter and DPWT and is responsible for:

  • Policies—Ensuring that the Adopter and its participants adheres to all provisions contained in the Agreement, this policy statement, and the safety requirements outlined either in writing or orally by DPWT and its representatives.
  • Training—Prior to engaging in any program activity, the Coordinator must attend a safety training session conducted by DPWT or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT.
  • Attendance—Be present at all roadside clean-up activity, whenever practicable. If the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator is not present, an adult group member must assume and discharge all of the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator’s responsibilities. This person must attend a mandatory safety training session conducted by DPWT, or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT.
  • Reports—Complete the provided clean-up report after activity and submit it to the Adopt-A-Road Program Manager.
  • Accidents—Must call 410-887-3560 to notify the Bureau of Highways of the following related to participation in the Adopt-A-Road program:
    • Emergency Medical Treatment—Must call immediately to report any accident or injury to any person resulting in treatment at an emergency medical facility
    • Any Injuries—Must call within one business day to report any injuries 

Roads Eligible for Adoption

Generally, program roads should:

  • Be one to three miles in length, on both sides of the road, but may be of any length subject to approval by DPWT.
  • Not be primarily residential, where it is reasonable to expect homeowners in the area to remove roadside litter in the course of maintaining their property.
  • Be flat with walking area along both sides of the road. Roads with steep slopes along the side of the road are not eligible for adoption.
  • Have sufficient sight distance that allows approaching drivers to clearly see the volunteers and enables the volunteers to see oncoming traffic.

Provided Program Equipment

DPWT will provide:

  • Safety information, training for Adopt-A-Road Coordinators, and an opportunity for safety training for all participants
  • Safety vests and work gloves
  • Trash bags
  • A minimum of two safety warning signs to post during clean-ups. DPWT will also provide replacement signs as necessary due to normal wear and tear, and accidental damage. DPWT will replace, at its cost, up to two signs per adopter if signs are stolen, defaced, or damaged by causes other than normal wear and tear. The removal of defaced or damaged signs will be at the sole discretion of DPWT

If requested, DPWT can provide a certificate of adoption.

Sign Specifications

DPWT will install two permanent signs with the Adopter's name designating each adopted section of roadway. These signs are intended to identify and recognize adopters, and to promote the Adopt-A-Road program, not to provide a public forum for Adopters to use in promoting name recognition, advertisement or political causes.

  • DPWT will have sole discretion regarding the size, color, design, text and placement of Adopt-A-Road signs.
  • Only the actual name of the adopter will be included on the signs. Exceptions will be made for in memoriam statements using the following language: “[Adopter name] in memory of [name of deceased]”. No
    • Addresses/telephone numbers
    • Business logos
    • Slogans
    • Titles/statements of elective office
  • The signs shall not contain wording which, in the sole judgment of DPWT:
    • Is insulting or derogatory
    • Is a term of bigotry or hostility
    • Is racially or ethnically degrading
    • Refers to sexual acts
    • Is a profane, obscene or repulsive term
    • Appears to promote the use of illegal substances

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Bureau of Highways

111 West Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204


Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.




Randall Shiflett


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