Roadside Vegetation Management refers to the slashing of grass and vegetation along roadsides.
The cutting of the grass along the side of the road is commonly performed using a tractor mounted slasher. These slashers are often rear mounted and are either hydraulically or mechanically driven and were designed for open fields and farmland. Using these machines for long strips of roadsides which have lots of obstacles along the way is not an ideal situation which results in inefficiencies, worker health and safety implications and the need for alternative methods for particular areas.
It is imperative that grass cutting/slashing is scheduled by the relevant authority throughout the year to prevent overgrowth. This overgrowth can act as fuel for bush-fires, cause signage and delineator obstruction, prevent access for pedestrians and degrade the visual appearance of the roadsides. While the visual appearance and the access for pedestrians may not be of high priority, the risk of providing fuel for bushfires and the liability associated with obstructing any delineators or signage has resulted in the councils and roadside authorities placing a high priority on prudent on-going roadside maintenance.
Roadside Vegetation Management has traditionally been performed with machinery that hasn’t been designed specifically for the job. For this reason, there are inherent problems that have arisen within the industry that result in a lack of efficiency, poor environmental outcomes and compromised Workplace Health and Safety standards.
One of the problems that is inherent of the current method of roadside maintenance is that slashing does not effectively remove the vegetation from around roadside posts. While this may sound like a trivial problem, this is a liability for councils and road authorities and therefore must keep this verge trimmed at all times.
Currently during roadside maintenance, when the operator of the slasher approaches a roadside post, they simply manoeuvre the slasher around the post and continue slashing the strip. The vegetation around the posts is then removed using one out of two methods:
In this instance, each post and guard rail is manually trimmed using a mechanical cutting device (usually a whipper-snipper).This is the preferred method from an environmental perspective as it mechanically cuts the grass, which in-turn decomposes. This process is incredibly time consuming and is therefore a very expensive process. In this instance, each post and guard rail is manually trimmed using a mechanical cutting device (usually a whipper-snipper).
This is the preferred method from an environmental perspective as it mechanically cuts the grass, which in-turn decomposes. Along with the expense of the process, the worker is completely exposed to potential collisions as they are often located on the side of busy freeways.
In this instance, each post and guard rail is manually sprayed using a harsh chemical that restricts growth for approximately 2 - 3 months. This process albeit being a secondary process is fairly time efficient. In some cases the spray is applied from quad bikes or it can be carried out from the safety of a vehicle.
The downside to this secondary process is that the chemicals are extremely harsh to the environment (with calls to industry to ban the process). The process also requires traffic management due to the slow speed of the vehicle applying the spray which can be equally as costly as the chemical process itself.
Performing the traditional method of slashing the roadside, a secondary process needs to be implemented to clear the vegetation around the posts or hard-to-get-to areas. Due to this extra process, the efficiency of roadside grass slashing is drastically reduced as every stretch of road needs to effectively be covered twice.
There are lots of different brands of machinery that are traditionally used in vegetation management, with varying levels of consideration to worker’s health and safety. Some of the common problems that are experienced are:
Rear mounted slashers - causing the constant turning around of operator
Workers that aren’t in protected cabin exposed to potential car collisions.
Extremely hot weather conditions over long periods of time
The use of chemical spray in this industry is widespread due to it’s cost effectiveness compared to manual trimming. There are however major adverse effects with the use of chemical spray en masse. These adverse effects are being acknowledged by both councils and roadside authorities with some areas already initiating bans on its use.
Traffic management is a very expensive component of any roadside maintenance due to the high labour component. Due to this high cost, a lot of ‘less than ideal’ compromises are made in alerting traffic on the road to the works being executed. In the best case scenario, the vegetation management operations are followed by traffic management trucks with signage at set intervals before the works. In other cases, the signs are manually placed, collected and replaced along the roadside by the operator as the works are executed.
Slasherteck has designed and manufactured a set of machinery specifically for removing vegetation along roadsides. Our patented technology allows our slashers to clear vegetation around posts in a single operation.
Slashes verge along roadside
Slashes vegetation around the post
Front mounted slashing for best accuracy & WHS practice
Preserves integrity of roadside posts
Completes roadside maintenance in one pass
Slashes verge along roadside
Hydraulic motors reduces mechanical failure occurrence
Improves Long-term road stability
Drastically reduces the need for chemical spray
On-board automation and Asset management capabilities
Australian made and designed
Click the link below to learn more about our Vegetation Management Technology
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