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MoDOT now using slope mowers to help improve safety of workers

Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 8:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2021 at 10:07 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If you drive down the highway and see something unfamiliar on the side of the road, you are not alone.

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is now using slope mowers, which are lawn mowers controlled by a remote. They cost anywhere between $45,000 to $50,000.

“When we take care of the banks, where the grass can get tall and there is a lot of brush, we have workers that will trip, slip and fall, and it creates a lot of injuries,” said Tim Bundgard, MoDOT Southwest District Office Superintendent. “The RC mowers help keep the brush down more and creates less injuries.”

MoDOT used to have around 25-30 workers for such tasks. According to Bundgard, they can now use just one slope mower and complete work in half of the time.

Many workers were tripping and accidentally cutting themselves trying to mow dangerous banks on the side of the highway. Now these devices help workers complete the task faster and safer.

“We plan on hitting 21 counties and 29 buildings to help take care of areas all across our Southwest District,” said Bundgard. “These new mowers are also great to help mow places where we couldn’t reach before.”

Another factor in implementing the new RC mowers was the lack of prison inmates that would usually help mow the side of the highway.

“We usually had 65 prisoners a day and now we have zero,” said Bundgard. “We have more than enough work, and we hope we still get them back after COVID-19 because it can be impossible to keep up.”

The slope mowers can mow on an incline of up to 50 degrees. According to MoDOT, ever since they have been implemented, so far zero injuries have been reported from their workers.

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