Liberty Road interchange getting revamped to the roots
NATCHEZ — Once a well-groomed and welcoming green space entrance to the City of Natchez from the Natchez Trace Parkway, the now neglected landscaping at the Liberty Road interchange will soon be taken out down to the roots.
When the overpass was opened in 2007, the Mississippi Department of Transportation maintained the flowerbeds, ground cover and shrubbery at the interchange. However, in recent years, MDOT has not done so, and last spring MDOT officials said no agreement had ever been put in place to determine who was responsible for the interchange’s maintenance.
For the last couple of years, volunteer groups have worked to maintain the interchange, pulling weeds, cutting grass and performing other maintenance work.
But now Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter — who is also a county supervisor and has made county beautification a personal goal — said the interchange has reached a point of neglect where the best way to maintain it is to remove much of the landscaping.
Tuesday through Thursday of next week, inmate crews provided by the City of Natchez, Adams County and the state will start clearing the interchange’s flowerbeds and some shrubbery.
“With no maintenance plan whatsoever from the city or the state, this is the easiest way to have the long-term control of the intersection,” Carter said.
“We are not going to take out any of the trees or Indian crepe myrtles, but whatever can be mowed is going to start being mowed.”
The areas that the inmates clear will be seeded with Bermuda grass, and once the grass is seeded, the city will be able to cut it, Carter said.
MDOT has previously said that with its cessation of maintenance of the interchange, the responsibility of its maintenance falls to the City of Natchez. Carter said he approached city officials and got permission to remove the landscaping.
Carter said he hopes that once the grass is established and a basic maintenance routine is in place, some low-maintenance plants and shrubs might be planted.
“We might look at having some crepe myrtles to line the median or something else that could work out there, but right now we just want to get it where it is cleaned up and presentable and easy to maintain,” he said.
Any future plantings would have to be approved by MDOT, Carter said.