Improving Vegetation Management Practices and Cost Effectiveness on North Carolina Roadsides

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is responsible for operation and maintenance of the 78,500 mile North Carolina highway system and has spent nearly $47 million since January 2010 for vegetation management (VM). This roadside vegetation has a natural tendency to progress towards climatic species, which are usually trees and brush. These plant species can impede lines of sight, prohibit sunlight to reach paved surfaces to aide in snow and ice removal, restrict maintenance of infrastructure, and weaken general safety. Further reducing the long term efficacy of management practices, the NCDOT's vegetation management program has gone unchanged for virtually 13 years. New vegetation management products have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and released into the marketplace over the last few years that can potentially improve program proficiency, reduce rights of way VM costs, and improve infrastructure health. Furthermore, the use of native warm season grasses (NWSGs) on rights of ways to occupy and compete for space, light, water, and nutrients can provide aesthetic views and may assist in the management of brush species. Herbicides that are commonly used in the establishment of NWSGs could also be utilized to control brush species while promoting rich and diverse native grass species. Therefore, the proposed research will: (a) determine the target management species on NCDOT roadsides; (b) develop current and comprehensive guidelines for woody vegetation management; (c) revise and update NCDOT vegetation management guidelines, and (d) research and develop maintenance procedures for the long term management of NWSGs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kirby, John

  • Performing Organizations:

    North Carolina State University, Raleigh

    Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
    Box 7625
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27695
  • Principal Investigators:

    Richardson, Robert

  • Start Date: 20120816
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160816
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150815
  • Source Data: RiP Project 32204

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01467085
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: FHWA/NC/2013-16
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:27PM