MaineDOT Highway Design Guide

Adopt a Highway Program

The state of Maine was the 49th state to create an Adopt-A-Highway Program. MaineDOT’s final rule was adopted on February 22, 1999, and amended slightly in July, 1999 to include "town ways." This site will provide you with everything you need to know about this program.

MaineDOT will play a relatively minor role in this program. It was designed by the Legislature as one which would be driven by Maine local governments. MaineDOT will be involved in receiving applications from participating municipalities and then reviewing the proposed sign assembly locations on all public highways in those towns. Municipalities will establish the local rules and regulations and other details to run the program.

Quick Synopsis of the Adopt-A Highway Program
  • The primary purpose is to allow individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to participate in litter control and beautification activities along Maine's public highways.
  • All public highways, both state and local, are eligible for participation.
  • Any interested municipality or county may adopt its own program for these activities.
  • MaineDOT will have limited involvement.
  • Any sign erected to recognize participating organizations must have a permit from the MaineDOT.
  • Each sign shall not exceed 4 square feet in area, and the cumulative total for each full sign assembly may not exceed 50 square feet.
  • Each municipality can erect up to four full sign assemblies within its boundaries to announce the existence of this program in the town.
  • Each sign assembly will be installed and maintained by the town.
  • MaineDOT will have final responsibility and authority to determine the specific size and location of any sign assembly.
  • This program does NOT apply to the Interstate or a fully-controlled access highway 
Basic Process
  • Decide to establish a program and set up your local rules, preferably in ordinance form.
  • Provide those rules to the Boy Scouts, or the Kiwanis Club, or any interested group who wants to "adopt" a highway in town.
  • Submit application from the town to MaineDOT for permission to erect these signs (even on local roads).
  • Design, purchase, install, and maintain a sign or sign assembly (for multiple groups) anywhere in town (limit is four per town).
  • Monitor groups so that safety is number one while working off the road.
List of towns/cities with an Adopt-A-Highway program

Arrowsic | Beals | Dallas Plantation | Lamoine | Madawaska | Monmouth | Orono
Presque Isle | St. Albans | York

Signing and Safety Suggestions
  • Proper vs Improper Signing (PDF)
  • Conditions and Suggestions (PDF)
  • Safety Tips (PDF)
  • Applications & Forms
    • Municipal Application (PDF)
    • Diagram Location Form (PDF)
    • Activity Report Form - Optional (PDF)
    • Sample News Release -Optional (PDF)
    • Adopt-A-Highway Sample Sign Design
      • This design for an Adopt-A-Highway sign is suggested for your municipality. Because state law does not specify a particular design, the choice of sign design is left with every municipality that decides to institute such a program. This could lead to hundreds of sign designs across the state for the same program.
        In an effort to create some form of consistency, this design is one which you could take to a local sign shop for fabrication. Whether you use it or not, the ultimate decision on sign design rests with each municipality. However, the size of each sign is limited under the DOT’s program rule. Each full sign assembly in a town (limit of four per town) may not exceed 50 square feet and each individual sign for a particular person, business, or organization may not exceed four square feet.
      • Download the Adopt-A-Highway Graphic (JPEG)