Solution Promised for High Weeds, Trashy Freeways

State promises new mowing policy

After numerous complaints from residents, The Texas Department of Transportation promises that better mowing of overgrown Dallas freeways is on the way.

The pledge came from Bill Hale, the Chief Dallas district engineer for TxDOT on Thursday, said Transportation Committee Chairwoman Linda Koop.
Dallas residents have complained to city hall for years about overgrown weeds and trash along Dallas freeways. In turn, Dallas city leaders have asked TxDOT, which owns those roadways, to improve trash pick up and mowing.
Most litter collection and mowing on state highways is done by private contractors.  Current TxDOT litter collection contracts provide for pick up when noticeable trash accumulates beside the road.  But mowing is generally done four times a year on average, based on the season and not the need.  
In the past, TxDOT has told cities additional mowing must come at the city's expense. 

“We set a standard and we apply it to all of our cities in all of our seven counties. Everyone gets equal treatment,” said TxDOT Dallas District spokeswoman Michelle Releford. “If a city wants to do more, they can have more programs.”
Richardson and other North Texas cities have nicer freeways because they spend city money on beautification.
Dallas city leaders have resisted extra spending because Dallas has so many freeways.

“Truly, it would be very costly for the city to be able to pick those up,” Koop said.  
Under the new policy Koop was promised Thursday, future state mowing contracts would be based on the height of growth along the road instead of the calendar.
“It’s a test case,” said Koop, “It’s the first place in the state that it’s going to be done and so we’re looking forward to that. We all agree we need better gateways to our city.”
The new policy will not produce results until new state contacts are arranged. So Dallas freeways may remain overgrown for another summer.

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