If Northsiders think the grass in the a little taller than usual along the interstate, they’d be right.
Officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) are struggling to keep up with maintaining the medians, in part, because of the heavy rains.
And, with a limited budget, officials with the agency say bringing on additional crews to cut the grass is not an option.
“It’s the result of the rain and the budget, a lack of resources,” said Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.
Michael Flood, assistant to the commissioner, said the rain not only causes the grass to sprout up higher and quicker than usual, it also causes contractors to fall behind on the work.
Crews can’t mow when the ground is wet, for fear the mowers will get stuck in the wet, soggy land.
“The summer downpours can throw a wrench in mowing schedules,” he said. “The same thing is happening to my yard.”
MDOT spends $1,350,000 a year to mow the medians in Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties. Of that, about $395,000 is spent to mow the “Metro Loop,” which runs along I-55 from the Natchez Trace exit to Bryam, along I-20 from Clinton to Brandon and along I-220.
That area is cut four to five times a year, Flood said.
The agency spent $124,000 to cut grass along I-55 between the Natchez Trace exit and the Holmes County line, and $66,000 a year to mow I-20 from Brandon to the Scott County Line and MS 25 from MS 471 to the Scott County Line.
Contractors mow MS 25 section twice a year and I-55 from the Natchez Trace to Holmes county three times a year, Flood explained.
Landscape Management Group, of Jackson, handles the metro areas, while rural stretches in the tri-county are handled by Madison-based Harris Facility Maintenance Company.