No, Iowa DOT
employees aren’t being lazy – the overgrown, unkempt medians of its highways and
interstates are supposed to look like that.
In an effort to cut
costs from its maintenance budget and support the growth of native wildflowers
and prairie grass, the state has stopped mowing its medians, leaving three to
four feet of foliage along 1,500 miles of divided roadways and roadsides.
Last year, the move
saved taxpayers approximately $600,000 in mowing expenses. Further reduction
could trim even more money from an estimated $2 million mowing budget in the
state, the Des Moines Register reported.
perspective, it’s more than saving money,” Dena Gray-Fisher, a spokeswoman for
the DOT, told the Register. “It deals with aesthetics and breaking up
the monotony of the roadway for drivers.”
Some mowing will
continue in the state, however. Six to 10 feet-wide areas are trimmed for
safety along shoulders, and all medians will be mowed clean in the fall to
allow snow to accumulate within them.