Rick Wanner, IDOT District 1, and Tim Pollowy, Hey & Associates

Roadside Vegetation Management
Rick Wanner – Illinois Department of Transportation
Tim Pollowy – Hey and Associates, Inc.
September 15, 2011
A little bit of background…
• IDOT District 1 includes the six
county metro Chicago area
• ~2,791 miles of roadway in
District 1 that IDOT is responsible
for maintaining
• Does not include tollroads (which
are ISTHA’s responsibility)
• Over 3,500 acres of expressway
roadsides in District 1
• Over 13,500 acres of primary
route roadsides in District 1
• In District 1, roadside landscape
maintenance was (and in some
cases remains) the responsibility
of 23 separate IDOT Maintenance
Yards spread out over 6 counties.
• Abilities vary greatly between the
• As budgets and staff were cut,
more and more maintenance work
has been contracted out.
• Past complications with “No
Spray” Maps
Roadside Maintenance…
Vegetation management – Zone 1 vs. Zone 2
Traffic control and safety
Coordination: Maintenance Yards vs. Contractors, politics vs. plans
Trash along Dan Ryan Expressway
Impact attenuator and arrow board behind spray truck
Zone 1
Zone 1 = roadside closest to and directly related to traveled lanes
“Mow maps” to define limits of mowing along expressways
Reduced mowing (acreage and frequency)
Maintain Zone 1 weed free to avoid spreading weeds during mowing
Zone 2
• Zone 2 = roadside beyond Zone 1
• Stronger relationship with adjacent property
• TVM (Targeted Vegetation Management) – “Prescriptions” for
managing prairie, woodland, landscaped areas, and other cover types
Weed control along the Bishop Ford Expressway
GIS Mapping & Database
• In December of 2009, IDOT retained a consultant team led by Hey
and Associates, Inc. to assist District 1 Bureau of Maintenance
Operations with wetlands, erosion control, and landscape issues.
• In 2010, Hey and Associates
began development of GIS
mapping and a database for all
expressway roadsides while
simultaneously managing
numerous maintenance
contracts including mowing,
herbicide application, and urban
Results: I-290 Reconstruction (2010)
2010 Eisenhower Expressway reconstruction
• ~60 acres of selective clearing completed
• Removal of invasive (e.g. Siberian elm) and hazard trees
• Native seed (provided by IDNR) hand broadcasted in Zone 2 areas
I-290 near Independence Boulevard (2010)
I-290 near Oak Park (2011)
Results – Weed Control (2011)
• ~ 550 Zone 2 acres sprayed targeting teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus
and D. sylvestris) in 2011 via general weed control contract
• ~ 80 Zone 1 & 2 acres sprayed targeting common reed (Phragmites
australis) in 2011 via general weed control contract
Thorndale Avenue @ I-290 (before control)
Thorndale Avenue @ I-290 (after control)
Results: I-80 Widening/Resurfacing (2011)
2011 I-80 resurfacing and lane widening
• ~18 acres of selective clearing completed, 4 ½ more acres planned
• ~ 7 acres of teasel control completed, more planned this Fall
• ~ 10 acres of common reed control completed
Larkin Avenue @ I-80 (before control)
Larkin Avenue @ I-80 (after control)
Looking ahead…
• Limited resources
• Prioritize maintenance activities and locations
• Three goals…
Sauk Trail @ I-57 (SW infield)
Goal #1: Maintain Nice Areas
• Continue to maintain Zone 1
• Identify areas of higher quality vegetation within IDOT ROW
• Manage these areas to prevent degradation
Sauk Trail @ I-57 (SW infield)
Manheim Road @ I-290 (SE infield)
Goal #2: Target New Invaders
• Identified and targeted: Johnson grass, Leafy spurge, Blue globe
thistle, and Oriental bittersweet
Goal #3: Coordination
• IDOT seeks to coordinate
invasive species control with
adjacent land owners/managers
• Weed control “on both sides of
the fence”
• Keep invasive species out of
high quality natural areas
• IDOT policy requires
coordination with IDNR Heritage
Biologist prior to any herbicide
use adjacent to Nature
Preserves and INAI sites

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