Roadside Vegetation Control Program

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The roadside right-of-way serves many purposes– it provides space to escape crashes, creates a sense of openness that contributes to driving ease, improves sight distances, provides space for maintenance activities, such as snow removal and storage, and provides an area that allows for proper road drainage. However, overhanging trees, brush and weeds can grow into a serious safety concern for road users, especially in and around power and telephone lines, highway medians and along the roadside.

The Shiawassee County Road Commission (SCRC) has developed an Arm Mowing/Foliar Brush Control Program to help keep the roadside right-of-way reasonably clear. This two-prong approach is designed to contain roadside vegetation that could obstruct motorists’ vision, obstruct the traveled portion of the roadway, create drainage problems or cause snow/ice problems if left unchecked, and includes the following actions:

Roadside mowing

SCRC uses a subcontractor to perform roadside mowing. Per their contract, they will mow along paved county roads twice and unpaved county roads once throughout the season. They do not mow along subdivision roads. The contractor is responsible for the scheduling of mowing to mow through the county most efficiently. They generally work on a township-by-township basis.

Mechanical brush mowing (Boom Mowing)

SCRC crews use a specially designed brush mower to cut back roadside brush. This equipment will focus on clearing brush that is 8” in diameter or less. This mowing will be done year-round, whenever the weather allows. Over the past decade, SCRC has not had the resources to continuously brush mow. Fortunately, with increases to road funding from the state, SCRC is finally able to restart its mechanical brush mowing program.

Yes, the SCRC has 3 brush mowing tractors equipped with spraying equipment. Operators are trained and licensed to spray. Each year the SCRC puts an ad in the local paper stating where and when the townships will be brush mowed and sprayed.

All 16 townships get 40 hours of brush mowing and some townships have agreements with the SCRC for more brush mowing. The road foreman and the township supervisor have a meeting to discuss what roads will be mowed, other roads are added to the schedule when the SCRC receives customer concerns.