Civic

Highway maintenance turning into ‘hay mowing’ project

Motorists who break down on the side of the highway might find themselvesin high weeds.

North CarolinaAt the May meeting of the Woodfin Board of Town Commissioners, Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun, during the reading of the town’s public works department joked, “Hopefully we’re not going to get to where our roads look like as bad as DOT’s [Department of Transportation] cause they’re going to be in the hay mowing business before its over.”

The Tribune contacted David Uchiyama, Communications Officer for the NCDOT for the Western Mountains Area, who told us, “NCDOT will not be able to maintain the same level of mowing and beautification of our highways that North Carolina drivers have become accustomed to because of reduced revenues caused by COVID-19.”

Asked specifically if the overspending recently cited in the state auditor’s report by the NCDOT affected the speed with which mowing was being done, Uchiyama did not respond. 

He did say that “currently, the NCDOT plans to mow three cycles this year starting on June 1. The department will mow interstate and primary highways first followed by our secondary roads. In past years, our road system has been mowed five to six cycles per year. The NCDOT will continue maintenance activities that prioritize the safety of our roads and bridges, including mowing vegetation that creates sight-distance issues.”

Several other questions were asked that he did not address, including who will be handling the job of mowing? 

When asked if the tall grass had been cited as a cause of any accident, he said, “Residents can report sight-distance issues by contacting their local county NCDOT maintenance department. He also added, “Crews will continue picking up litter along interstates and other high-visible/high traffic areas throughout the year.”