Watering Grass Off a Highway Overpass Could Be a Life Saving Measure

Conserving water is an effort being made by people across Texoma. So, many are wondering why they see sprinklers watering the side of a new overpass along US Hwy 277 near Holliday.

The dry, cracked soil on the side of the overpass could actually pose a danger to drivers. That is why a company contracted by the Texas Department of Transportation is working overtime to meet federal requirements and get grass growing on the side of that overpass.

Some may question whether watering in a time of drought is really necessary, but in this case TX-DOT says watering could be life saving.

Adele Lewis, TX-DOT Public Information Officer, said, "Just because there is a drought we will need the vegetation to go in, and even more so because that roadway is drying out. We will get water sooner or later and the repercussion could be bad."

TX-DOT says if grass is not grown on the side slops of the overpass dirt could potentially get underneath the bridge and cause erosion. The dirt could even fly up on the highway on windy days and create a safety hazard for drivers.

That is why TX-DOT says it crucial to get that grass growing as soon as possible.

Adele Lewis comments, "In order to keep the safety factor going we need to reestablish the grass."

TX-DOT officials say the state and federal government require any project using more than an acre of land to reestablish vegetation. But the weather conditions are making it a real challenge.

That is why the companies contracted for the overpass construction put in a temporary sprinkler system. Once the grass starts growing the watering will stop.

Adele Lewis says, "We have them plant native grasses. We do not have them plant anything that would need any maintenance or fertilization. It is all a mixture of buffalo grasses and wild grasses because we do not want stuff that you would put in your lawn."

Newschannel 6 spoke with an official in charge of watering the overpass project and he says they use 34,000 gallons of water a day. The sprinklers are used twice a day on one side of the slope.

The water being used on the overpass is being bought directly from Holliday. City officials say they cannot regulate how or when the water is used after its purchased.

We did reach out to R.K. Hall to address concerns, but so far our calls have not been returned.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6