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Wildflowers Saves Money for the IDOT


Colorful hues of purple, blue, yellow and white wildflowers are waking up Illinois's "highway hypnosis" stricken drivers. The picturesque scenery is a result of a collaboration between the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to revive the Midwest's native flora along the the state's roads, right of ways, interchanges and plazas.

Highway officials have said that due to the abundance of rain and warm temperatures, motorists are provided with one of the biggest displays of wildflowers in recent history, which is good news for the state because every patch of land dedicated for wildflowers saves money. IDOT Landscape Architect Rick Wanner states that the agency is now purposefully designing highways to minimize mowing. Also, due to their hardiness and ability to withstand harsh conditions like air pollution and road salt means minimal maintenance is required.

IDOT Statewide Roadside Maintenance M

Manager Charles Gouveia explains that the labor not used for mowing can be used for other projects, such as patching potholes and shoulder work. In the last five years, the agency has cut the number of mowed acres from 280,000 to 100,000 statewide--thanks in large part to the increased use of wildflowers and prairie grasses. Officials say that as a result of the savings planting native flora has become a standard practice for all new roadway projects and for those undergoing reconstruction.

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June 17, 2019, 8:45 am PDT

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