Drivers are being asked to be cautious and allow time and space to pass tractors as Essex County Council begins its summer roadside grass verge cutting programme.
Up to eight tractors will be working on the Essex road network at any one time during the peak summer cutting season.
Motorists are urged to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the cutting machinery in case of flying debris, such as tree branches.
Grass verges on all of Essex’s priority routes (main roads) are cut to improve visibility and so safety for drivers and other road users.
The cutting programme includes verges next to roads and pavements, as well as vegetation on central reservations and anywhere growth affects sightlines at junctions.
Around 6,100 miles of verge will be cut during the summer.
Engineers will also begin spraying weeds in some more urban areas to limit the damage they can cause by growing through the surfaces. Weeds can also trap litter and block drains.
Councillor Eddie Johnson, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said: “To maintain safe roads for drivers and others on our roads, we must cut verges, trees and undergrowth back to ensure we can all see properly – especially at busy junctions and to allow use of the full width of the road or pavement.
“Wider verges on sections of the A127, A13 (Pitsea Flyover to Five Bells roundabout), A1245, A130 and A133 can take up to four passes by our tractor cutters to cover the whole area. To keep delays for drivers to a minimum we do the cutting at night when roads are less busy.”
To keep the verges at an acceptable height during fast growth in summer, Highways staff trim the county’s roadside verges twice. The first cut is to a minimum width of three feet, wherever possible, to account for sightlines at junctions, bends and known areas of higher risk.
A second trim up to 18 feet wide in particular spots, is carried out by staff following up after the tractors, to ensure that the areas close to road signs, street lights and other obstructions are cut with strimmers. Verge cutting is often complicated by piles of litter so people are also reminded to take all their litter home.