Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2006


Contacts:

Matt Vanover (IDOT) 217-558-0517
Mike Claffey (IDOT) 312-814-3957
Marisa Kollias (IDOT) 312-814-4693

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 District:

  • 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 training.
     

  • 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 non-peak hours.
     

  • 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 unfolds.

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