Using Vegetation Management Practices Near Roads to Leverage the Benefits of Solar Radiation


Oftentimes, environmental regulation and legislation policy conflicts with vegetation management practices near highways and clear zones. It has been argued that removing vegetation near highways can raise solar radiational benefits potentially resulting in reduction of snow bonding at the start of storms and increased melting times post storm, both potentially reducing chloride use. Quantifying these assumptions with research would help stabilize some vegetation management debates and give states scientific research to build vegetation management practices based on results of this study.


The goal of this project is to assess the direct effect of vegetation management practices near roads to enhance the benefits of solar radiation on these roads in winter. Roadway temperature and chloride use data collected before and after winter storms when vegetation is present, and before and after winter storms after vegetation or tree canopy has been removed will be used to assess the impact of solar radiation in potentially reducing chloride use.

Expected Results

The results of this study will be used to produce guidance for vegetation management that highlights the benefits of reduced chloride use in winter maintenance operations as a result of solar radiation. Information in the guide will be based on quantifiable results demonstrating the relationship of vegetation management to pavement surface temperatures.