City officials want MDOT to mow medians

Published 7:10 pm Thursday, July 5, 2018

Vicksburg residents could be seeing mowers on Interstate 20 within the next few days, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said Thursday.

He said employees for the contractor hired by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to cut grass in the Vicksburg area were cutting grass on U.S. 61 North Thursday morning, adding MDOT district engineer Kevin Magee told him “they would be getting on I-20 shortly.

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“My intention this morning is to ride up to 61 North and talk to somebody on one of those lawn mowers up there and tell them get on I-20. We expect them to get on I-20 in Vicksburg and have it looking like I-20 in Clinton.”

The mowers’ appearance follows complaints Monday by Monsour, who is over landscaping and maintenance for the city, and Mayor George Flaggs Jr., that MDOT was not doing a good job keeping the shoulders and median of I-20 mowed. MDOT is responsible for maintaining the grass on the highway, and in some instances hires private contractors to do the work.

Flaggs said he has received complaints from city residents about the grass along the shoulder and median of I-20, adding the residents’ pleas to cut the grass included the complaint that “If I can get a pay raise, at least I can get the grass cut.

“I got the raise; but I can’t get the grass cut. I’ve already made the request; it is in the total control of the Department of Transportation. I have asked them to allow us to cut the grass, and that has not become a reality yet by having a contract or a memorandum of understanding that we can cut the grass when they can’t cut the grass.”

Flaggs said the grass “looks terrible. I’m 65 years old, and if you hide an egg in there I couldn’t find it.”

“We are the gateway to Mississippi on the Interstate, and it’s a shame the way it looks,” Monsour said.

Monsour said Thursday he called Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall after the board meeting about the grass. Hall, he said, was concerned the grass had not been cut, and called Magee.

Tuesday, he said, Magee called him about the grass. The mowers, he said were working on U.S. 61 North Tuesday afternoon.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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