The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) will begin its annual vegetation control program along state controlled railway systems starting Monday, July 20, and continuing through Thursday, July 23 on rail lines through out the state.
MaineDOT manages several rail tracks that are used by freight haulers including the Rockland branch from Rockland to Brunswick which is an active rail line. The Lewiston Lower Road and Augusta Lower Road rail lines are used on an occasional basis. Other tracks managed by MaineDOT may not be in active use but must also be maintained to meet both state and federal standards that all railroads are required to comply with nationally.
“Vegetation management is a critical component in maintaining rail for safe operation,” said Bob Moosmann, MaineDOT Statewide Vegetation Manager. “Among the most serious potential problems are derailment and the potential for fire that starts within the rail corridor.”
MaineDOT contracts Railroad Weed Control, Inc., headquartered in Westfield, Mass., to apply spray materials. RWC utilizes high rail trucks with state-of-the-art equipment and utilizes licensed, experienced professional applicators knowledgeable in the field of railroad vegetation management. The company provides vegetation management services for railroads throughout the United States and Canada.
MaineDOT researches all vegetation control materials and approves only those with the lowest environmental risks, as well as the lowest health risks for applicators. The materials scheduled for use on the rail lines in July include Razor (glyphosate) and Arsenal Railroad Herbicide (imazapyr). As part of its commitment to environmental and worker protection, the department uses the lowest rates possible for control of vegetation.
“By using these materials in combination, we are able to reduce rates of application to the lowest possible rate and still get control of vegetation,” says Moosmann. In addition to these herbicides, the department will use a product that will help to keep the materials in place and inhibit lateral movement away from the zone of application and downward movement into the soil. Moosmann explains that, “the use of a sticker-extender allows us to ‘glue’ the herbicides to the soil which not only keeps the products from moving even when it rains but also improves the performance by keeping the materials in place longer.”
The following tracks are scheduled for spraying during the week of July 20th: The Calais Branch from Washington Junction to Brewer, and Baring to Ayer’s Junction; the Mountain Division Line from West Baldwin to Fryeburg, and from Westbrook to Gorham; the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Line from Belfast to Thorndike; the Augusta Lower Road from Brunswick to Augusta; the Lewiston Lower Road from Brunswick to Lisbon Falls; and the Rockland Branch from Rockland to Brunswick.
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