AMES, Iowa – May 2, 2011 - According to Iowa Department of Transportation officials, preparation is underway to enhance the roadsides along Iowa 163 in Polk County. Native plant species will soon replace non-native grasses used in the past to improve motorist safety by trapping additional blowing and drifting snow, improve erosion control, enhance storm water infiltration, provide wildlife habitat, and make the driving experience more enjoyable and safe.
The landscaping project extends six miles along Iowa 163 from Northeast 64th Street east to Northeast 112th Street in Polk County.
Highway users and area residents may witness several steps performed by a contractor during the site preparation, seeding and plant establishment phases of this project. This includes periodic mowing beginning in April 2012 and continuing throughout the growing season.
Work will also involve herbicide spraying of existing vegetation in April/May and subsequent applications made at a minimum of 10-day intervals until all areas are void of living vegetation.
Seeding of the project site will immediately follow roadside spraying. The seed mix will consist of native grasses and wildflower species. Examples of some of those species include big bluestem, Indian grass, black-eyed Susan, purple prairie clover, as well as several coneflower and aster species.
The project along Iowa 163 is one of several underway this year as the Iowa DOT continues its roadside management and native prairie planting efforts.
For general information about this specific project, contact Mike Clayton at 515-239-1202. To obtain additional information about the Iowa Department of Transportation's roadside planting program, contact Mark Masteller at 515-239-1424.