Caltrans announced on Wednesday, Feb. 10, that it will forego broadcast spraying of herbicides along Highway 84 (Woodside/La Honda/San Gregorio roads) and Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) this year and use only spot spraying and manual removal of vegetation to keep roadsides clear.
The work will start on Tuesday, Feb. 16, on Highway 84 from Skyline Boulevard to the coast and may require some lane closures.
Caltrans will work with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the California Conservation Corps to cut and remove low-lying tree branches, weeds and undergrowth to reduce the potential for fires, Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro said.
Crews will work Tuesday through Thursday for four consecutive weeks, she said.
She said that some spot spraying of pesticides will take place, but that crews will not spray where "No Spray" signs have been posted on private property, but they will spray in the Caltrans right-of-way even when signs are posted.
"The application of any chemicals will be in small areas and by hand or small equipment," she said. Ms. Navarro said the crews will be using power equipment and chain saws, as well as hand tools, to clear the right-of-way.
She said Caltrans anticipates it will use herbicides on Scotch and French broom, jubata grass and "any other woody noxious material" once they have been manually removed to prevent re-sprouting. The chemicals to be used include Capstone, Accord XT, and Activator 90 Pro-Spreader.
While the news is good for those who live near and use the highways, Patty Mayall of Protect Our Watershed said the short notice about the start of the program "is frustrating." "We have less than a week to notify people about posting their No Spray signs," she said, and a holiday weekend means many may be out of town.