The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding the public that the busiest roadside mowing period is underway, requiring drivers to slow down, avoid all distractions and proceed with caution when encountering equipment and personnel. The heaviest mowing operations will continue until Aug. 15, a schedule that helps maximize motorist safety and protect pollinator habitat.
“As one of the state’s largest landowners, we take great responsibility in keeping our roadsides maintained during the summer as well as doing our part to protect the environment,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “But we need the public’s cooperation. Anticipate seeing large equipment and workers during the day. Reduce your speed, drop the devices and drive extra carefully.”
During the summer, IDOT conducts two primary types of mowing. Safety mowing occurs directly adjacent to the road as needed. Maintenance mowing, which lasts for approximately six weeks starting July 1, includes areas next to culverts, ditches, traffic control devices and other structures and follows the Illinois Monarch Project Mowing Guidelines for Pollinators, protecting as much habitat and nectar resources as possible.
The mowing schedule helps to encourage pollinator activity, which assists in the reproduction of flowers, fruits and vegetables, essential to the health of the state’s ecosystem and economy. Reducing the amount of land maintained and growing pollinator habitat also protects the endangered rusty patched bumble bee and the monarch butterfly, the official state insect of Illinois.
To view a short video about IDOT’s mowing schedules and its work with pollinators, click here or visit IDOT’s YouTube channel.
In 2020, IDOT joined in the launch of the Illinois Monarch Action Plan as part of the Illinois Monarch Project, a collaborative effort to help ensure the survival and successful migration of monarchs by increasing and protecting habitat.