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VDOT Encourages Vigilance during Grass Mowing Season - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VDOT Encourages Vigilance during Grass Mowing Season

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Virginia has now officially gone from snow pushing season to grass mowing season. The Virginia Department of Transportation says its summer cutting is underway across the commonwealth.

VDOT is encouraging drivers approaching mowers to slow down, stay alert, and move into the opposite lane where possible when approaching the work zone.

VDOT maintains 58,000 miles of roads in Virginia and manage vegetation on state-maintained right of ways along interstates and most primary and secondary roads.

Virginia Department of Transportation Press Release

RICHMOND, Va. – Mowing equipment has replaced snowplows along Virginia’s roadways, as they cut through roadside vegetation so motorists, cyclists and pedestrians have a clear view of where they are going – and can get there safely.Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews already are active throughout the commonwealth, conducting the first of their 2014 mowing cycles to ensure safe sight distances next to highways and other roads. They also are pruning trees, cutting brush and removing litter.

“We never compromise on motorist safety,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “Roadside maintenance – including mowing to control vegetation in VDOT’s right of way – is one way we keep Virginia’s roads safe for motorists and summer travelers.”

Safety First

Crash cushion trucks often follow slow moving equipment to provide protection for operators. Signs also are posted to indicate work is under way.

Motorists approaching slow-moving mowing operations should reduce 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.

“We ask all drivers to watch for VDOT employees and contractors operating the mowers and other equipment along the interstate medians and other roadsides,” said Kilpatrick. “Please consider these crews ‘mobile work zones’ and drive cautiously around them.”

Mowing Schedule

VDOT maintains 58,000 miles of roads in Virginia and manages vegetation on state-maintained right of way only, which includes along interstates and most primary and secondary roads (cities and Arlington and Henrico counties maintain most of their roads and rights of way).

The department will follow these general mowing guidelines, based on weather conditions, which affect vegetation growth rate:

· Roadsides along interstates, primary roads and high-volume secondary routes are scheduled to be mowed three times through late October. Litter will be removed at the same frequency.

· Roadsides along low-volume primary and most secondary routes are scheduled to be mowed twice through late October.

· Roadsides along unpaved routes and low-volume subdivision streets are scheduled to be mowed once through late October, unless safety issues require more frequent attention.

VDOT created this schedule as a cost-effective measure when it decreased repeated mowing in areas where sight distance was not an issue. Local crews may increase the mowing frequency in locations where safety issues and weather patterns require.

Report Problem Areas

VDOT will always mow an area where a sight distance hazard is reported or observed, regardless of the mowing schedule.

Virginia motorists and residents are encouraged to report these locations at the “Report a Road Problem” page on the agency’s website at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp or by calling VDOT’s Customer Service Center (CSC) at 800-367-7623 (800-FOR-ROAD).

The CSC assigns and tracks such public requests, which, in turn, speeds VDOT’s response time to any such problem that may impede safety and mobility.

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