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Landscaping planned along I-20 entrance to state

[01/11/01] Interstate 20 at Vicksburg is one of the entrances to Mississippi expected to be a bit prettier as a result of a contract to be awarded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

MDOT has advertised for bids for a landscaping project. “It is part of a project we are helping sponsor with Keep Mississippi Beautiful,” said Donna Lum, MDOT public affairs director.

She said the idea is to plant flowering or decorative trees, shrubs and flowering plants for up to 4.6 miles into Mississippi from the state line.

“The idea is for someone coming into Mississippi to be able to tell he is in Mississippi,” she said.

She said the MDOT landscape architect has studied each site in the project and has picked individual species that will give color and beautify all year long. For example, the trees picked will provide lush foliage in the spring, summer and early fall, have brightly colored leaves in the fall, and some have been picked to provide a type of foliage through the winter. The shrubs and perennial flowering plants went through the same selection process.

Lum also said the plantings will be set back from the shoulder of the highways.

Funding for the landscaping project is coming from a cost-sharing program contained in the Transportation Efficiency Act of 2000, Lum said.

The federal share will be 80 percent with the state share set at 20 percent.

The project is to be complete by Dec. 15, 2003.