Frances Lee and her colleagues mow the equivalent distance of Auckland to Cairns every year as part of QRS’s road maintenance contract for Wairoa District Council.
The mowing crew mow about 3500km of sealed and unsealed road sides and long reach mower operator Frances loves it, even though there are some challenges!
“When someone inspects the work of the QRS mowing team and assumes a male was in the cab, I’m not fazed,” she says.
“I just wait for a workmate to correct them. And then they see I’m just as good as a bloke at this job. Society is changing.”
Frances has worked for QRS on and off for 20 years. A stalwart of the roading industry she’s buoyed by the amount of women joining the workforce.
“I’ve never seen so many women working in the industry. Women are not shy to give it a go and the ones I work with are strong independent women.”
There’s not a day goes by where Frances isn’t thankful for her work environment.
“If you’re at Mahia you get a sea view; if you’re out in the back blocks you breathe country air and get a feel for the country lifestyle. To see pigs and deer roaming freely in the front of my tractor is just magic.”
Frances says she enjoys her job so much she often has to be reminded to take breaks during the day. “I just bluetooth my music into the cab and away I go!”
Mowing a road verge is about more than just driving the tractor forward with a long reach mower off to one side.
Mowing and vegetation control along roadsides improves visibility for all road users.
Frances says this “safety mowing” is the most important part of her job and ensures that all signs and traffic control devices are clearly visible, and that road users can see as far as practicable when driving.
Meanwhile “selective mowing” helps show off landscaping and can make a natural blending of the roadside with native or planted growth.
“I make up to six different cuts in some areas to get the slopes and visibility just right.”
QRS and Frances remind the public that when driving around mowers and their pilot vehicles speed limits may apply.
19 September 2018
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