201 - Clearing

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Before beginning any construction operation, refer to subsection 107.15, Compliance with Laws; Environmental Protection, and Section 208, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Standard Specifications for Construction, and any applicable supplemental specifications, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) permits and special provisions. Also refer to the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Manual for guidance.

The inspector should become familiar with the various locations and controls for clearing areas established by the staking operations. The clearing areas can then be checked against plan quantities. Computations may be available from the Design Support Area. Changes from plan quantity should be checked and recorded. The plans, proposal and right-of-way (ROW) agreements should also be checked for any special provisions or agreements.

Section 201 Clearing of the Standard Specifications for Construction requires the cutting and removal of all trees, stumps, brush, shrubs and other vegetation occurring between lines 3 feet (1 m) outside the grading limits. Grading limits will include the vertical curves at the tops of cut sections, the toe of fill slopes, and other areas shown on the plans. Stumps and roots need not be removed from peat excavation or disposal areas. Stumps may be buried with a minimum cover of 2 feet (700 mm) in peat disposal areas, if approved.

If the project, or any part of the project, is within lands owned by the USDA Forest Service or Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), representatives of those agencies should be contacted before the actual start of construction operations. Regulations other than those set forth by MDOT may apply to these areas.

If the project, or any part of the project, is within state forest or park boundaries, representatives of those agencies should be contacted before the start of construction operations. Regulations other than those set forth by MDOT may apply to these areas.

The Engineer should be informed when possible when any changes from plan quantities or standard specifications have been determined as necessary to complete the work.

Before the start of work, the Engineer, inspector and Contractor's on-the-job supervisor should field check the project together to agree as to the stake-out controls, interpretation of any special provisions and, most important of all, the actual pay limits. At this time, the Contractor's planned operations should be discussed, with instructions that the work be controlled to the extent that any plant life so designated will be saved. Vegetation beyond lines 3 feet (1 m) outside the grading limits will be carefully protected from damage or injury during the construction operations.

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Protecting Plant Life

This is detailed under subsection 201.03 of the Standard Specifications for Construction. A note should be placed on the IDR indicating trees saved according to any special provisions on the plans, proposal or ROW agreements. Any damage and the reasons for damage to trees and shrubs not designated for removal should be noted.

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Salvaging Marketable Timber

Subsection 201.03 of the Standard Specifications for Construction defines marketable timber as having at least a diameter of 6 inches (150 mm) at a point 4-1/2 feet (1.4 m) above ground. On easement ROW, this timber will be cut and piled outside the ROW limits for the adjacent property owner's use. The location and owner's name should be reported. Timber is not required to be cut in lengths less than 8 feet (2.4 m). Any discussion with adjacent property owners should be reported.

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Selective Thinning

Type I - Stumps will be cut off at an elevation not more than 6 inches (150 mm) above the existing ground, and application of a growth preventive by a certified applicator must be made.

Type II - Stumps will be chipped or ground down to an elevation approximately 4 inches (100 mm) below the proposed ground level.

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Clearing For Fence

The maximum clearing width is 8 feet (2.5 m) entirely within the ROW. Widths less than 8 feet (2.5 m) are to be used where possible. Trees, brush, shrubs, stumps and other vegetation will be cut flush, but roots need not be removed. Limb trimming is permissible to avoid cutting mature trees. Application of a preventive growth material by a certified applicator is also required with this item. Disposal methods and methods of reporting for Selective Thinning - Types I and II and Clearing for Fence will be the same as for the Clearing item.

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Disposing Of Unsalvageable Material

  1. Burning - Report the following:
    • Date and authority of burning permit.
    • Location of fires (center of cleared area).
    • Methods used to control the fires.
    • Any injury to live trees.
    Note: Do not permit the use of tires, heavy distillates or plastics as kindling agents.
  2. By Chipping
    Chips will be disposed of outside the limits of the roadway or stored for use as mulching material.
  3. By Burying
    Allowed with prior approval of the Engineer at approved locations.

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Daily Reports On Clearing

Measurements should be made according to the Standard Specifications for Construction. The horizontal distances should be definite as to the locations included. To avoid misinterpretation in the office, the distance shown on the report should always be to the outside line of the trunks of trees cut unless otherwise noted. The limits of the measurements should always be specified.

Inspectors' Daily Reports (IDR’s) should show the locations of work in progress, but a pay quantity should be shown on the report only when a definite area has been completed.

Example 1:

Station 1 + 20 to 1 + 40. Clearing in progress. Trees down but not removed.

Example 2:

Station 1 + 40 to 1 + 60. 4.1 acres (410 m2) of clearing completed. Sawlogs of 8 foot (2.4 m) lengths piled on Johnson property at 70 feet rt. of station 232 + 50, per ROW agreement.

IDRs should describe the disposal methods and locations of logs, brush, etc., that have been removed. In addition to stationing and horizontal distances showing clearing quantities, further documentation in the form of sketches for each area computed should accompany the daily reports.

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