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DOT says roadside clean-up not casualty of cutbacks

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Motorists driving to and from work in Clayton and Henry counties may have noticed the countless trash bags lining the roadsides of Interstate 75.

Some may have also noticed the tractors slowly riding alongside the interstate traffic, cutting down the weedy patches of grass that hug the freeway shoulder.

None of that will change, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT).

The department announced recently that despite concerns of statewide budget cuts to state agencies, it will continue its clean-up and mowing program along the Georgia's major thoroughfares, in an effort to keep motorists safe.

"We won't sacrifice safety," said David Crim, the department's state maintenance engineer. "Georgia is the transportation hub of the Southeast, and we will ensure our roads [will be] well maintained."

By law, the department is responsible for maintaining federal and state highways, including mowing and litter retrieval. Georgia has an Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) Program that is designed to maintain standard mowing procedures throughout the state.

The IRVM Program's long term goals include reducing the overall cost of mowing by reducing the amount of service contracts that are bid and awarded. Instead, the department hopes to assume more roadside enchancement jobs internally.

The state's mowing cycles begin during the first half of May and should be completed the week before the Fourth of July holiday. Mowers are currently completing roadside mowing and clean-up along Interstate 75 through Clayton and Henry counties. Those mowers are entering the final mowing cycle of the season, which begins the first two weeks of September and ends a week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

DOT's Crim said residents with concerns about safety issues along side the state's freeways should contact their district DOT office, or visit the department's web site.

"Georgia DOT reviews every concern and responds immediately to downed signage reports and road sight safety issues," Crim said. "The [department] is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia's economy, and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment."

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On the net:

Georgia Department of Transporation: www.dot.ga.gov