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Grass cutting along highways about to begin



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South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour is frustrated with the slow progress being made on getting the grass cut along Vicksburg’s state and interstate highways.

“A lot of legal languages have to be worked out. The City of Vicksburg cannot step foot on state property without the proper legal language,” Monsour said.

“The grass is finally being cut for the first time this year by the state. It is June!” he added, sounding exasperated.

The high grass became an issue a couple of years ago after the state cut tax revenue via a cut to large corporations. The result was a $150 million dollar a year shortfall in tax income for the state. That revenue has not come back to the state yet via increased tax revenues from citizens, jobs or other taxes. As a result, the state had to cut their spending.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation took one of the biggest cuts. It has since struggled to keep up with demand to maintain the grass surrounding state roads and interstates.

Local communities all along Interstate 20 have begun to pick up the slack.

In Vicksburg, there are six main exits off I-20. Each of them needs to have the grass cut. We also have state highways 61 North and South.

Residents have been complaining about the high grass leading to unsafe conditions for a couple of years. Said one alert Vicksburg Daily News reader in an impassioned plea to report this story, “Drive up 61 N toward Redwood. A man died in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago out that way. His view was probably blocked from the weeds near Blakley Subdivision. It’s also bad on 61 South going out of town.”

An impassioned reader of Vicksburg Daily News sent this photo.

Alderman Monsour has been working with the state, MDOT and the city legal department along with local contractors to figure out how to get the slow, arduous bureaucratic red tape sorted out. He believes we may be close to inking a deal.

“We have worked out a preliminary deal with MDOT that should be finalized later this week,” he said. “The concept of the deal is MDOT gave us the language that allows us to do the entrances and exits along the interstate, but not the median. We can also take care of the Frontage roads, all of 61 South and all of 61 North within the city limits.”

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour. (photo from his City of Vicksburg Profile)

Once the deal is signed, the city still has to wait on MDOT to come through for the first time.

“MDOT required us to not do any of this until MDOT got in there first to clean it up. They are here now and starting to do the initial cut and clean up,” Monsour said.

After the initial cut and clean the city will keep it maintained. MDOT will still do three pick-ups and cleans a year.

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