Plant flowers, not grass, on medians

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 9, 2015

Thousands of people can be found traveling along U.S. 52 each day through Lawrence County for a variety of reasons. It could be heading to or from work, going to a meeting, going to dinner, a doctor’s appointment or taking a shopping trip to get clothes or supplies for the upcoming school year. Or, many could simply be passing through Lawrence County to visit family, heading to the beach or any number of destinations. We are still in peak travel season.

While I am probably not saying anything you don’t know already, I was somewhat disappointed this week at the conditions of the medians in Lawrence County on U.S 52 that separate the east and west bound lanes.

It wasn’t trash that was lying on the ground, but rather the height of the grass. While I understand the maintenance of the medians on the highway is not like cutting my grass at home and doesn’t need to be done every week, it is important not to let it get out of control.

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I also understand that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) maintains hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of roadways just in District 9 that encompasses eight counties that include Lawrence, Scioto and Jackson counties and stretches up to Chillicothe.

Something like grass cutting that we typically perceive as simple requires a lot of planning to ensure the resources the district has are used wisely on that large of a scale. And it may simply be a case of the Jekyll and Hyde weather we have had this summer that resulted in the medians growing at a much faster pace than it has in the past. But like it or not, people notice those types of things when traveling along our roadways. It can be a safety concern as well. Not so much from a motorist standpoint, but for our emergency personnel.

While I can imagine they much prefer not to use the medians to turn around, at times emergency personnel must use the medians to turn around or get around motorists in the event of an emergency situation. With the height of the grass, they cannot see potential hazards that may slow their response or prevent them from getting to the scene.

Traveling in other states like Virginia and Kentucky, they have planted flowers in the median areas. I often wondered why we didn’t have that in Ohio, and after doing some research I found that Ohio in fact does have this in certain areas.

Just last year, a project like this was completed on a two-acre area on Rt. 207 in Ross County as part of the Bee Pollinator Project. This is a program developed by District 9, Lawrence County’s ODOT district. The mix of Ohio wildflowers was planted in the median area, and those will take around three years to fully develop. However, this can have several positives for the environment and have multiple purposes.

These types of initiatives are wonderful assets to use, as it provides an aesthetically pleasing site for motorists and can help reduce the cost of maintenance needed each year.

Continuing to develop these types of plans will help beautify our county and region one mile at a time.

Josh Morrison is the general manager at The Tribune. To reach him, call 740-532-1441 ext. 16 or by email at