State reduces road mowing -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State reduces road mowing

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Just when lawn mowers are needed most along Georgia highways, the state is cutting back on cutting the grass.

Starting July 1st the state will slash the amount of mowing in half to save nearly $11 million.

Albany won't be affected as much by the cutbacks because the state pays the city to mow roads in Albany.

Albany is one of only four Georgia cities contracted by the Department of Transportation to mow the state routes in the city limits. City officials say they worry cutting back on mowing, especially this year, could be dangerous, but in Albany you will not have to worry.

The city of Albany is paid 150 thousand dollars by the state to maintain 43 miles of state routes in the city of Albany. Public Works Director Phil Roberson says he worries Georgia roads could become a threat with the mowing cutback, but is glad Albany city roads will stay maintained.

"It really can. It can become a sight hazard. It can become a hazard for fires and all sorts of things. That's why we try to mow once every five to six weeks," Roberson said.

This year the mowing and chemical herbicide programs are needed more than ever in Georgia, as the state has normal rainfall for the first time in five years. The grass is growing much more quickly now, and the yearly forecast promises roadside maintenance will be longer and more difficult.

"You are talking about a seven to eight month mowing season here in the Southeast. That can be problematic if you don't have a good chemical and mechanical mowing program to compliment each other. It can get out of hand," Roberson said.

Roberson worries that state routes could get out of hand as the state cuts back on mowing. Albany mowers are running full time to make sure the roadways here stay clean.

"It looks like the drought may be over, which is good news. But it just means a lot more work for us." 

The state will also cut back on roadside trash collection. Georgia roadways could be littered with more coke cans and hamburger bags though The Department of Transportation says they will still take care of major debris on roadsides immediately.

The DOT will try to recruit more civic groups to adopt stretches of road and get them to hire landscaping companies to mow and maintain the highways.

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