Mowing Season Begins for VDOT

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.

Photo by Tom Saunders,VDOT

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.


  1. Laura M says:

    Can we do something to stop VDOT from mowing down Milkweed when the Monarch Butterflies need it the most? Last year is was so UPSETTING to see a beautiful stand of milk weed (near Berryville) covered with caterpillars, and the next day Mowed down! I have been noticing the Milkweed coming up now, and the monarch will be back soon and need a food/host source, I’d hate to see it mowed down…..

    • Stand in front of it when VDOT arrives to come mow it?

      • That would work, but a simple education on the value of pollinators such as butterflies would benefit everyone. It is such a joy to see young children light up when they get to see a monarch and other butterflies on plants such as milkweed. Just knowing that those small insects will have to fly over 1000 miles to find a home for the winter is an astounding concept. Knowing they will light up the life of a child is priceless.

        Training VDOT employes is a benefit to everyone and for our valued wildflife. It is a simple win win idea whose time has come.