As 58,000 miles of roadsides get their first spring manicure, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is reminding drivers to slow down and watch for crews mowing grass, pruning trees, cutting brush and removing litter along roads throughout the commonwealth.
Most roads will see up to three cycles of mowing this year, but local VDOT maintenance crews may increase that frequency in locations where safety issues and weather patterns require. The roadside maintenance plan for 2011 remains similar to recent years, when repeated mowing was decreased in areas where sight distance and motorist safety were not issues.
“While we stretched our mowing cycles the last few summers because of economic conditions, the safety of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians remains our first priority,” said Emmett Heltzel, P.E., VDOT’s state maintenance engineer. “We are always seeking ways to make sure our operations are as frugal as they can be, but our current mowing practice also has the appropriate flexibility to ensure our crews and contractors can continue to maintain roadside grass and vegetation so that everyone who uses state roadways has a clear and unobstructed view of their route.”
Keeping Crews Safe
VDOT maintenance crews and contractors work along roadsides and in medians to ensure safe sight distance for drivers and to properly care for and control vegetation within the right of way. Many of VDOT’s mowing operations are mobile, with tractors often followed by crash cushion trucks to provide protection from traffic. Signs are also posted to indicate that work is underway. Motorists are asked to watch for slow-moving mowing operations and to slow their speed, stay alert, and move into the opposite lane where possible when approaching the work zone. These courtesies allow VDOT crews space to work efficiently without worry for their safety or that of approaching motorists.
Report Problem Areas
Crews will continue to address areas along all roads as needed where vegetation may limit the sight of drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. Residents are encouraged to report any roadside vegetation causing sight distance issues by filling out VDOT’s “report a road problem” page here or by calling 800-367-7623 (800-FOR-ROAD). TTY users, call 711.
VDOT manages vegetation on state right-of-way only, which includes roadsides along interstate highways and most primary and secondary roads. Local governments or landowners are responsible for maintaining right-of-way along city streets as well as roads in Henrico and Arlington counties. Residents in localities that maintain their own roads should contact their local public works agency for more information.