Roadside vegetation can make travel a bit more pleasant with beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, depending on where it is an how large it is, it can also create a significant hazard to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
The responsibility for maintenance of overgrown vegetation can be two-fold: The government and the property owner. The government has a duty to make sure the roadways are safe, and that means making sure drivers can see signs, oncoming traffic and other important road features. There is also the duty of the property owner to make sure overgrown bushes, trees or grass on their property isn’t impeding the roadway or obstructing the vision of drivers or other travelers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Safety Administration encourages roadway agencies to develop roadside vegetation management plans that clearly define what has to be done at each location. That means making sure there is:
- Sign visibility
- Clear sight lines
- Proper drainage
- Road sign visibility
- Making sure roadside trees don’t pose a hazard by creating a “clear zone”
- Clearing winter snow and ice from trees that overhang the roadway