DOT announces changes for mowing along South Dakota state highways

DOT announces changes for mowing along South Dakota state highways The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) Commission and Legislature made changes that will make it easier for landowners who want to mow along South Dakota's state highways.

At its February meeting, the Transportation Commission voted to remove all mowing restrictions for West River counties except for Lyman, Gregory and Tripp Counties. Those three counties will be able to mow after June 15 with counties east of the Missouri River able able to mow after July 10 to protect pheasants nesting in the right-of-way.

Commissioners also changed the rules to address the hay once it is processed. Hay bales in the highway right-of-way can not be closer than 30 feet from the painted shoulder stripes. The bales must also be removed by Oct. 1. Any bales left after that time may be removed and disposed of by the department.

Meanwhile, during the 2004 session, the South Dakota Legislature passed a measure to eliminate the need for individual permits for all South Dakota state highways except along the Interstates. The new laws will take effect July 1.

Preference will be given to landowners whose property touches the state's right-of-way. Legislators also decided to reduce the penalty for anyone violating the mowing restrictions from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The DOT will continue to mow the top 15 feet next to all S.D. state highways. The practice improves the driver's ability to see animal movements near the highway and to see other cars approaching the roadway.

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