The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Transportation is asking the public to stop placing memorials or dedications on rights of way on state highways.
MDOT officials say they have developed procedures for the removal and storage of existing memorials.
“These memorials not only endanger the distracted driver, they also endanger the person placing the memorial along the highway,” MDOT executive director Melinda McGrath said in a news release.
“Any area remotely close to a highway can be an extremely dangerous location,” she said.
McGrath said the shoulder of a highway is only to be used during emergencies and blocking any right of way is violation of federal law.
McGrath says existing memorials will be removed by MDOT crews performing mowing operations along highways. Before that is done, pictures will be taken of the memorial and locations are documented using landmarks, measurement or a Global Positioning System.
She said MDOT employees create a report for each memorial removed to give an accurate county location and to enable them to be mapped with the GPS coordinate.
The memorials will be taken to the nearest MDOT county office for storage so family members can pick them up.
MGrath says MDOT will store memorials up to three months from when they are removed from the highway.