IDOT Takes Steps to Conserve Fuel By Reducing Mowing and
Eliminating One Flight a Day
Agency orders 9 Highway Districts to
meet 5% fuel reduction goal without compromising safety
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department
of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Timothy W. Martin has ordered the agency’s
Highway Districts to reduce fuel consumption this summer by five percent. The
fuel reduction is being implemented in response to skyrocketing fuel prices, as
long as it does not compromise roadway safety. IDOT is also conserving fuel by
eliminating one of three daily roundtrip flights between Springfield and Chicago
during the summer months.
“Our first priority at IDOT is
the safety of the motoring public and all the workers who maintain and build our
roads,” Martin said. “However, the sharp rise in fuel prices over the last year
requires that we tighten our belts when it comes to fuel consumption. One way we
can do this is by cutting back on mowing in areas where it does not affect sight
lines and safety along our highways.”
Martin said the goal of the
summer-long conservation effort is to build up a cushion heading into the snow
and ice season.
Achieving a five percent
reduction in fuel use would save an estimated 72,000 gallons of fuel.
In order to meet the five percent
fuel reduction goal, IDOT’s Division of Highways has instructed its maintenance
yards to mow grass alongside Interstates only twice instead of three times this
summer, and to increase the time between the first and second mowing. Also, only
a 15-foot swathe would be cut along Interstate shoulders. Interchanges will be
mowed beyond 15 feet only where necessary for safety and line of sight.
In addition, the Division of
Highways has recommended a number of optional fuel-savings steps for each
Road patrols on the
Interstate system will be reduced from twice a week to once a week.
Highway maintainers will
spend one day a week in the yards performing maintenance on buildings and
grounds and participating in training.
Reduce the number of vehicles
taken to job sites, where possible, without compromising safety.
Use the highest occupancy
vehicles to transport groups of staff to jobs sites and for meetings and
Keep all equipment tuned and
serviced for peak fuel efficiency.
Reduce the number of
crossings by the state operated ferries by going to a schedule during
Reduce travel by increasing
the use of video conferencing.
IDOT’s Division of Aeronautics
suspended the midday shuttle at the end of May. Demand for shuttle flights is
not as great when the Legislature is out of session. Suspending one round-trip
flight per day over the summer will save an estimated 9,600 gallons of fuel.
Martin said that the steps that
have been announced are only a starting point and that Department will continue
to evaluate all aspects of fuel usage and to seek more savings as the summer