Missouri Department of Transportation crews will soon begin mowing roadsides across the state.
“Our mowing focuses on visibility and safety,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Becky Allmeroth. “Motorists will see tractor mowers near the shoulder of interstates and other busy roadways. Please watch out for our crews, slow down and don’t drive distracted.”
Major and minor routes are mowed in three cycles usually starting in mid-May, mid-July, and mid-September. Along with mowing, crews selectively use herbicides to stunt vegetation growth, control brush and stop the spread of noxious weeds. Wildflowers and careful herbicide usage add additional benefits in that they reduce the amount of time spent mowing fence-to-fence.
MoDOT mows about 400,000 acres of grass each year, which is equivalent to 300,000 football fields.
On rural two-lane roads, crews may use a protective “follow” truck to alert motorists they are approaching slow-moving mowers. Drivers are advised to use the following tips to safely pass mowers:
- Be alert for trucks and tractors with lights flashing and moving slowly, 2 to 5 mph.
- Slow down and focus on the road ahead of you. Avoid talking and texting on a cell phone or other distractions.
- Be prepared to stop or drive very slowly behind a “follow” truck, especially approaching a hill or curve on a two-lane road.
- Obey the no passing zone stripes and only pass when you can see far enough past the “follow” truck to avoid meeting oncoming traffic.
Between mowing cycles, report grass and weeds blocking visibility at intersections along state roads to MoDOT.