Kentucky Road Crews Rooting out Noxious Weeds

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is cranking up its weed control program to keep a dozen unwanted and noxious weeds from encroaching on the bluegrass state’s transportation infrastructure.

[Above photo by KYTC]

Weeds are more than a gardening nuisance; they can obscure sightlines, compromise drainage, wipe out native plantings, and kill off roadside turf, leading to roadbed erosion and serious maintenance issues.

“Some weeds are highly destructive and difficult to control,” said Naitore Djigbenou, executive director of the KYTC Office of Public Affairs.

“Weeds clog storm-water drainage systems and can compromise pavement and structures which can lead to potholes and structures failures,” Djigbenou noted, which is why KYTC uses Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management or IRVM to “suppress and control noxious and invasive weeds on state-maintained highways.”

Weed control is accomplished through mowing, turf-grass establishment, insect biological control, and the use of herbicides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency that are applied by licensed applicators.

“If left untreated, some weeds can grow several feet tall and impact driver visibility,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray pointed out in a recent news release. “Actively treating the weeds on state-maintained property enhances safety, prevents damage to ditches and drains and minimizes the presence of plants that attract deer near highways,”

The agency also reaches out to private landowners, he said, encouraging them to request that highway crews treat some noxious weeds on adjacent state-owned right-of-way.

Kentucky law dictates which 12 plants are considered “noxious weeds” that should be eradicated. They are Amur Honeysuckle, Canada Thistle, Common Teasel, Cutleaf Teasel, Japanese Knotweed, Johnsongrass, Kudzu, Marestail, Multiflora Rose, Nodding Thistle, Poison Hemlock, and Spotted Knapweed.

Noxious weeds often invade and destroy the roadside turf grass, leaving those areas vulnerable to erosion, KYTC added. They can also smother native plants through rapid reproduction and long-term persistence. Twenty years ago, the Federal Highway Administration published a compendium of resources aimed at removing invasive species of plants that might take root along roadways nationwide. They can cause “significant changes” to local ecosystems, upsetting ecological balances and causing economic harm to the country’s agricultural and recreational sectors.

WVDOT Issues Funds for Alternative Transportation Projects

The West Virginia Department of Transportation recently issued $9.7 million worth of Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grants to fund 38 projects in 22 counties across the state.

[Above photo by WVDOT]

“We’ve learned that investing in our cities, towns, and beautiful parks is one of the best ways to attract tourists and improve the daily lives of our residents,” explained Governor Jim Justice (R) in a statement.

“This program provides millions of dollars to make some of the best places in West Virginia more accessible, which will also enhance visitation throughout the state,” he added. “The positive economic ripple effects will be off the charts, and I couldn’t be prouder to approve these well-deserved initiatives.”
Administered by WVDOT, grants via the West Virginia Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program – which receives funding from the Federal Highway Administration – helps towns and cities build and improve sidewalks, lighting, walking paths, rail trails, and more.

According to the FHWA, its Recreational Trails Program or RTP provides funds to the states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

The agency said that federal transportation funding seeks to boost “recreational activity” such as hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, enacted in November 2021, reauthorized RTP funding from federal fiscal year 2022 through 2026 as a set-aside from the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside under the Surface Transportation Block Grant, with the amount set aside equal to the state’s FY 2009 RTP apportionment.

Environmental News Highlights – March 29, 2023

A roundup of headlines curated for state transportation environmental professionals


AASHTO President Millar: Resilience Key to Transportation

– AASHTO Journal

USDOT Issues $94M via New SMART Grants Program

– AASHTO Journal

Electric bike tax credit bill reintroduced, providing up to $1,500 off new e-bikes in US

– Electrek

“Reconnecting Communities” Funding Announced for New York State

– Roads & Bridges

US Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $20 Million in Grants to Support Boating Infrastructure, Local Communities and Outdoor Recreation

– US Fish & Wildlife Service (media release)

EPA Announces Final “Good Neighbor” Plan to Cut Harmful Smog, Protecting Health of Millions from Power Plant, Industrial Air Pollution

– EPA (media release)


Rural States Are Moving Ahead With EV Charging Infrastructure

– Government Technology

Louisiana Governor Unveils Online Dashboard for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Projects

– Louisiana Governor’s Office

What Wisconsin Has Gotten Out Of Biden’s Infrastructure Law (So Far)


The Planet Can Do Better Than the Electric Car

– Slate

PHMSA Announces State and Local Funding to Improve Hazardous Materials and Pipeline Safety Nationwide

– PHMSA (media release)


8th Circuit delivers climate blow to Big Oil

– E&E News

Florida EV owners may get their own version of a gas tax

– WFSU Radio

Seattle Requests Federal Help in Planning “Low-Emission Neighborhoods”

– The Urbanist

Decarbonizing Transportation Via Natural Gas-Derived Ammonia Set to Disrupt Maritime Sector

– Natural Gas Intelligence

Solar project to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 600 to 700 tons annually

– University of Notre Dame (media release)


Viewing Urban Geography and History Through an Environmental Justice Lens

– Columbia University


MoDOT, KDOT address abundance of trash seen along highways



NCDOT Wins Federal Grant to Expand Traveler Information

– North Carolina DOT (media release)

There Is Much More Work to Do to Shift Cities Away from Cars

– Government Technology (commentary)

What Makes a City Great?

– New York Times (opinion)


The East Coast Greenway – Connecting Maine To Florida For Walkers, Bikers

– Cranford Radio (podcast)

Utah to start planning statewide trail network after initial $90M investment

– St. George News

New legislation could clear up confusion surrounding e-bikes in Alaska

– Alaska Beacon

America’s top 10 bicycle-friendly cities

– American City & County

Investment Could Up Walkability in Bangor, Maine

– Bangor Daily News

Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia, New Jersey Division Of Highway Traffic Safety To Create Innovative Center To Promote Traffic Safety Across State

– Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (media release)


A Safe, Healthy Workforce Keeps Our Transportation Moving


Transportation Planning as a Tool for Migrant Integration

– Association For Commuter Transportation (webinar)


FY 2023 Emergency Relief Grants for Public Transportation Systems Affected by Major Declared Disasters in Calendar Years 2017, 2020, 2021, and 2022

FTA (Notice of availability of emergency relief funding)

Air Plan Approval; Wisconsin; Emissions Reporting and Infrastructure SIP Requirements

– EPA (Proposed rule)

Request for Nominations to EPA’s National and Governmental Advisory Committees

– EPA (Notice)

Notification of a Public Meeting of the Chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and CASAC Ozone Review Panel

– EPA (Notice)

Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council; Request for Nominations

– Fish and Wildlife Service (Request for nominations)

Land Between the Lakes Advisory Board

– Forest Service (Notice of meeting)

Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board

– USDA (Notice of meeting)

Notice of Competitive Offer for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands in Saguache County, CO

– Bureau of Land Management (Notice)