Verge cutting information and maintenance standards in Dorset
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Management of Dorset's Highway Verge
Cutting of road verges is divided into two distinct programmes:
- rural – for roads with speed limits above 30 mph
- urban areas – for roads with speed limits under 30 mph
The rural cutting programme covers all verges on roads above 30mph. The total length of rural roads being cut in Dorset is 2691km (1,672 miles):
- A roads – 319 km (198 miles)
- B roads – 289 km (180 miles)
- C roads – 1025 km (637 miles)
- D roads – 1058 km (657 miles)
Cutting is undertaken by contractors – two cuts per year for A and B roads, one cut per year for C and D roads.
The junctions and visibility splays are cut by contractors and also regularly throughout the year on an ‘as needed’ basis by our in-house teams. Where required, we will undertake additional cutting anywhere on the network later in the season, in order to maintain safe passage along the highway.
The urban areas, defined as those within the 30mph zones, are cut by either our in-house teams or by local agreements with mainly town councils. We currently have agreements in place with the following organisations:
Under most circumstances the urban cutting cycle is seven cuts per year between March and September. We believe this is a sufficient level to maintain the safety of the network in urban areas.
In some places we are trialling a cut-and-collect approach to verge management. The results have been very encouraging. Collecting the arisings reduces verge fertility, which reduces future growth rates and therefore the need for cutting. Low fertility also benefits wildflowers which only thrive in a low nutrient environment and provide an attractive road side. We hope to expand the cut-and-collect method across Dorset, improving the environment and reducing costs.
Control of weeds on highway hard services, e.g. kerb edges, is done with a biodegradable herbicide. This work is carried out once a year during the growing season. This helps reduce weeds and maintain the integrity of Highway infrastructure.