The roadside right-of-way serves many purposes– it provides space to escape crashes, creates a sense of openness that contributes to driving ease, improves sight distances, provides space for maintenance activities, such as snow removal and storage, and provides an area that allows for proper road drainage. However, overhanging trees, brush and weeds can grow into a serious safety concern for road users, especially in and around power and telephone lines, highway medians and along the roadside.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) has developed a Roadside Vegetation Control Program to help keep the roadside right-of-way reasonably clear. This two-prong approach is designed to contain roadside vegetation that could obstruct motorists’ vision, obstruct the traveled portion of the roadway, create drainage problems or cause snow/ice problems if left unchecked, and includes the following actions:

Roadside mowing

WCRC uses a subcontractor to perform roadside mowing. Per their contract, they will mow along paved county roads twice and unpaved county roads once throughout the season. They do not mow along subdivision roads. The contractor is responsible for the scheduling of mowing to mow through the county most efficiently. They generally work on a township-by-township basis. Click here to read more about WCRC’s roadside mowing program.

Mechanical brush mowing (Boom Mowing)

WCRC crews use a specially designed brush mower to cut back roadside brush. This equipment will focus on clearing brush that is 2” in diameter or less. This mowing will be done year-round, whenever the weather allows. Over the past decade, WCRC has not had the resources to continuously brush mow. Fortunately, with increases to road funding from the state, WCRC is finally able to restart its mechanical brush mowing program.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will you be working on my road?

Roadside mowing – WCRC uses a subcontractor to perform roadside mowing. Per their contract, they will mow along paved county roads twice and unpaved county roads once throughout the season. They do not mow along subdivision roads. The contractor is responsible for the scheduling of mowing to mow through the county most efficiently. They generally work on a township-by-township basis.

Mechanical brush mowing – WCRC conducts this work year-round, whenever the weather allows.

Overgrown brush is making it difficult for me to safety exit my driveway. Will WCRC come out to remove this brush?

WCRC does not mow or clear brush for driveway sight distance. Driveway sight distance is the responsibility of the property owner per the terms of the driveway permit. WCRC will mow the road edges throughout the season which may help with driveway sight distance.

If a resident feels they still can’t see safely when pulling out of their driveway, they should clear the appropriate vegetation in order to be safe.

WCRC will work to clear overgrown brush near county road intersections that are blocking sight distance. If you know of an intersection that needs to be addressed, please click here to report the issue. 

Your crews just brush mowed and there are large branches in the road, are you coming back to clean-up?

Yes, it is our intention to clean up any large debris placed in the roadway as a result of this operation. The focus of mechanical brush mowing is the ditch area beyond the edge of pavement and most of the debris will remain in the ditch line.

Does WCRC really want property owners to assume responsibility of brush on their own property?

WCRC considers roadside maintenance a team effort and is pleased to have property owners as partners in this vital safety program. This is why the WCRC is eager to accommodate property owners who prefer to handle vegetation control themselves. This kind of joint effort benefits both WCRC and the property owners.

Will herbicides will be used as a part of this program?

No, on July 16, 2019, the Washtenaw County Board of County Road Commissioners voted to terminate the herbicide spraying program effective immediately. Maintaining the roadside continues to be a priority for WCRC but it will now rely on the other tools of the Roadside Vegetation Control Program as resources allow, including, mechanical brush mowing (boom mowing) and roadside mowing.