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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Vegetation Control for Safety

Vegetation Control cover

1. Report No. FHWA FHWA-SA-07-018

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle Vegetation Control for Safety, A Guide for Local Highway and Street Maintenance Personnel

5. Report Date Revised August 2008

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Authors Ronald W. Eck, Ph.D., P.E. and Hugh W. McGee, P.E.

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc 700 – 8300 Boone Boulevard Vienna, VA 22182-2626

10. Work Unit No.

11. Contract or Grant No. DTFH61-05-D-00024

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address Office of Safety Federal Highway Administration U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes: The FHWA Office of Safety Contract Task Order Manager was Dr. Clayton Chen. The Technical Working Oversight Group included Michael Blankenship, Rick Hollatz, Mark Hood, Brandon Martin, and Jon Oshel.

16. Abstract Vegetation, if not controlled, can present a safety hazard for several reasons. Trees close to the road can present a fixed object hazard. Tall grass, weeds brush and tree limbs obscure or limit a driver’s view of the road ahead, traffic control devices, approaching vehicles, wildlife and livestock, and pedestrians and bicycles. The purpose of this guide is to help local road agency maintenance workers identify locations where vegetation control is needed to improve traffic and pedestrian safety, to provide guidance for maintenance crews, and to make them aware of safe ways to mow, cut brush and otherwise control roadside vegetation.

17. Key Words Vegetation control, safety, maintenance, sight distance

18. Distribution Statement No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report) Unclassified

20. Security Classif. (of this page) Unclassified

21. No. of Pages: 50

22. Price


This guide was prepared by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) under FHWA contract DTFH61-05-D-00024. Ms. Leslie Wright, Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety, was the initial task order manager; she was replaced by Dr. Clayton Chen. The principal investigator and author was Dr. Ronald Eck of West Virginia University as a consultant to VHB. Technical editing was provided by Dr. Hugh McGee and Ms. Vicki Glenn and document preparation was performed by Ms. Michelle Scism, all from VHB.

A technical working oversight group was formed to guide the preparation of this document. The members included:

  • Michael Blankenship, Consultant, Phoenix, AZ
  • Rick Hollatz, Skamania County, WA Department of Public Works
  • Mark Hood, Pennoni Associates, Inc., State College, PA
  • Brandon Martin, City of Petersburg, VA
  • Jon A. Oshel, Association of Oregon Counties, OR
  • Dennis Trusty, Northern Plains Tribal Technical Assistance Program, Bismarck, ND