Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mow Once a Year, Whether it Needs it or Not

If you think the state’s highways are looking a bit shaggy along edges, it’s not your imagination. Apparently, the state isn’t mowing along the highways until later in the season this year.

Coming off a harsh winter during which the state spent $89 million to clear snow and ice, more than double normal, only the most vital roadwork is being done until the new fiscal year begins in July, officials said.

As a result, state crews aren't mowing grass or removing dead animals along state routes, said Christine Reed, director of highways at the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"But we will not compromise safety," vowed Reed, adding that inspections and maintenance dollars will be aimed at deteriorated bridges.
Well, it seems to me there are some safety issues involved with long grass in terms of visibility, particularly with deer. And is it a healthy idea to have a lot of road kill rotting on the roads?

Of course, my real problem with the idea is that it goes against my instincts as a born and bred suburban male: grass should be cut! I’ve been mowing yards since I was 10 and I’m not inclined to like unsightly long grass. I had that feeling just this weekend as I drove down Veterans Parkway (a state route) and noticed all the long grass in the median and along the sides. I know letting the grass grow saves money and energy but it’s going to take time for me to get used to it.

This does bring to mind one question though: is there something that we should be planting on our roadsides that is less energy intensive when it comes to maintenance? More trees? More rock?


Anonymous said...

Personally I have never been able to understand why people go out of their way to water and fertilize their lawns so that they will grow faster and thicker -- then bust their butts trying to keep the grass cut! It seems rather wasteful to me, especially given the price of fuel and limits on public water supplies. I never watered or fertilized my lawn; if the weather got dry and the grass turned brown and dormant, so be it -- that just meant less mowing. Occasional, minimal mowing of roadsides and ditches is appropriate -- it doesn't have to look like a golf course.

Anonymous said...

Simple solution for the state. Let farmers cut it and then bail it. Can be used for feed or whatever and it would not cost the state nothing.