Improving Roadside Herbicide Application Safety and Versatility

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) maintains over 19,000 acres of roadside. Within that area are noxious weeds, guardrails and signs. Vegetation can obscure the visibility of signs and guardrail and, in extreme cases, impede or block roadway drainage. Mowing typically occurs between one to four times a year depending on the location. In the meantime, noxious weeds need to be controlled. One of the best means of control is herbicide application. Special herbicides, or plant growth regulators, are applied to the vegetation to slow the growth and thus reduce the need for mowing and increase visibility for motorist. ODOT's current processes for the application of herbicides is labor intensive, hazardous and can restrict access to essential equipment. Other challenges are encountered during the actual application process. When spraying on open roadways, trucks are a good vehicle for spraying, but they do not do well in off-road situations and in tight spots. As herbicides are being applied, changes in weather (e.g., wind intensity and direction, temperature changes, rain) can require the application to be halted. The dump truck, which may still have several hundred gallons of herbicide in the tank, is now out-of-commission until the remaining herbicide can be applied at a later time. If roadcrews need to change the type of herbicide that is being applied, they must return to the garage (or other designated area), rinse out the sprayer's tank and restart the filling/mixing process with the new chemical. During the application process, roadcrews must record what has been done (e.g., materials used, location of application, etc.). These records must be kept for three years and the accuracy of the data is extremely important. ODOT has a Global Positioning System/Automated Vehicle Location (GPS/AVL) program that tracks various aspects of truck usage; however, herbicide application is currently not included. When successful this research will identify new technologies and processes that can be incorporated into ODOT's herbicide program. When incorporated the new processes will improve efficiencies, increase worker safety and provide cost effective application.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $233467
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:

    Martindale, Jill

  • Performing Organizations:

    Davey Resource Group

    1500 N Mantua Street
    Kent, OH  United States  44240
  • Principal Investigators:

    Daniels, Cheryl

  • Start Date: 20210816
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230816
  • Actual Completion Date: 20230816

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01778988
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 114246, 136341, 36498
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 12 2021 2:03PM