Mowers along highways in Missouri are now out in full force in some areas. And with grass along thousands of miles of roadways in the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation is always looking for new and easier ways to mow. This year, the department is unveiled a new remote-controlled mower.
The four-bladed robotic mower can be operated from up to 500 feet away and Missouri is one of the first states to use it.
“We’re just trying them out,” said MoDOT Maintenance Engineer Ken Warbritton. “It’s not very widespread yet, but it’s an interesting innovation. If it works out and is cost-effective and safe we will certainly be expanding their use if it’s feasible.”
MoDOT spent about $40,000 on the new piece of machinery. It’s called the Spider ILD02 and can reach places and steep embankments that big mowing tractors can’t.
While the robotic mower is an interesting invention, Warbritton said most of the mowing is still done with big mowing tractors. He also urges drivers to pay attention to any of those mowers along the sides of the roadways.
“We have advanced signs and in some instance escort vehicles,” Warbritton said. “There’s a lot of different workers out there. We appreciate the traveling public paying attention and slowing down for those operations.”
Warbritton said MoDOT spends between $24 million and $27 million per year on roadside vegetation control. That cost includes mowing and spraying herbicides.