TIPP CITY — City staff met with representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation to discuss highway mowing.
At their July meeting, council discussed options for maintaining the land around the city’s interstate exit ramps after receiving complaints about overgrown plants and litter.
The land surrounding the exit ramps is the property of the state and is maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The city picks up litter around the exits weekly.
City staff reached out to other area communities that have taken on ramp maintenance and obtained quotes for mowing both exits. For exit 68, the cost per maintenance visit would be $378 for 30 visits, or $567 for 15 visits per season; a total of $11,340 or $8,505, respectively. At exit 69, which has a larger grass area, 30 maintenance visits per season would be $1,071 per visit at a total of $32,130, or $1,606.50 per visit for 15 visits, a total of $24,097.50.
Council was divided on taking over the responsibility of maintaining the property at that meeting.
According to City Manager Tim Eggleston, staff recently met with ODOT representatives to discuss the situation.
“They do mow four times a year and this year their contractor got behind,” he said during a meeting with city, township and school officials. This contractor also does maintenance for highways in Kentucky.
Eggleston added that next year, ODOT will only be mowing 15 feet from the edge of the highway and ramps in order to preserve insect habitats. Monarch butterfly and bee populations are declining due to loss of habitat. In order to preserve wildflowers and other plants those insects need, ODOT contractors will mow less area.
“They said we are going to see a difference in how highways are maintained,” Eggleston said. In the fall, ODOT plans to mow beyond the 15 foot line.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.