Two years ago, with the help of Bob Gunther, public works and economic development director for the Village of Somerset, an idea of a resident and the Village of Somerset, an interactive adopt a highway map was created.
Joann Hardegger reached out to the village during the COVID-19 pandemic, asking if there was a way to create a roadside clean-up map for an Earth Day activity. There was a lack of activities residents could participate in that year.
Residents in the village and town as well as St. Joseph Township can now adopt any road colored red on the map to help clean up.
“The technicians at MSA Professional Services, our engineering consultants, were able to create the map fairly quickly and we added it as one of GIS applications that that community can access off of our website,” Gunther said.
When a person or group adopts a road, it changes to yellow. Once the roadside and ditch is cleaned of trash, the road turns green.
There are 258 roads available for adoption – 116 miles of road in the Town of Saint Joseph, 140 miles of road in the Town of Somerset, and just over 22 miles of road in the Village of Somerset.
11.2 miles were cleaned last year.
“We are hoping for increased attention to the project in our community to help us get all the roads picked up every spring,” Hardegger said. The map will stay live through May 31.
Hardegger and Gunther both see value in other communities following suit on this project.
“We expanded it to include the surrounding towns last year and hope it gains more attention year after year,” Gunther said.