The Maine Department of Transportation will begin its 2003 brush control spray program the week of June 16.

Spraying roadsides keeps a clear zone for motorists to control their vehicles if they leave the roadway in an emergency or by accident, said MDOT Senior Landscape Architect Bob Moosmann.

“This yearly effort to control brush helps to keep our highways safe by maintaining proper sight distances at curves, intersections, driveways, hills, and road entrances,” Moosmann said.

The zone also increases the amount of sunlight that reaches the road during the winter to melt ice and snow, preventing dangerous road conditions, he said.

In recent years the Department has dramatically reduced it reliance on herbicides and continues its commitment to researching and developing alternatives.

To protect the Maine environment, crews are required to avoid spraying near stream crossings, wetlands, lakes, or rivers. Crews also maintain buffers near pastures, farms, schools, homes and gardens.

In addition to these buffers, only hardwoods 6 feet or less in height and softwoods 3 feet or less in height are sprayed. Trees taller than this are removed by hand cutting.

The two materials used to control brush are called Triclopyr and Dicamba. These materials are mixed with water to form a very dilute mixture that is 99.5-percent water.

Municipalities and landowners living along spray routes may enter into No Spray agreements with the Maine Department of Transportation. Municipalities or landowners agree to cut brush and maintain the roadside vegetation to MDOT specifications. In return for this help the department does not spray the property.

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