MDOT is not responsible for sign area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I read with interest the article in Tuesday’s newspaper about the couple aggravated by tall grass and felt I should respond to this article and to comments on the Web site chastising MDOT for not cutting the grass in this area.

While I and others at MDOT certainly applaud Jean and Bryant Reed for their “can do” spirit and desire to keep the entrance to Woodhaven beautifully maintained, there is an explanation as to why MDOT has not maintained this area. That reason is because MDOT is not responsible for maintaining this area, but rather the cutting of the grass at this sign comes under the maintenance of the City of Natchez.

When the City of Natchez approached MDOT a few years ago about putting these “Welcome to Natchez” signs up at the three entrances into Natchez, MDOT issued permits for the city to do so because a permit is required by MDOT to put any type of sign on MDOT right of way, which is where all three of these signs would be located.

A stipulation of the permit to the City of Natchez was that the city would maintain the property around these signs. Also, the city has the authority to work on MDOT state right of way within the city limits by state legislative statute.

While Mr. Bob Pollard does an excellent job as alderman, he really needs to check his facts before he makes such statements as were in the article that “it is not city-owned property, so we can’t carry our equipment on to that property. We can’t carry equipment on private or state-owned property.”

Apparently, Mr. Pollard is not aware of the permit/stipulation that was issued to the City of Natchez for the placement of these three signs and even if not, neither is he aware of the state legislative statute regarding city maintenance on MDOT state right of way. So rather than having the City of Natchez stay in contact with MDOT about maintenance, he needs to stay in contact with the city maintenance department.  If he does this, I don’t think the Reeds will have to spend any more of their time doing work the City of Natchez maintenance department should be doing.

Beautification, including litter removal and grass cutting, is a very high priority at MDOT and especially of Butch Brown, our executive director.

I can assure you that if the MDOT Adams County maintenance crew had let this grass become such an eyesore, they and I would have heard about this very loudly and clearly from Mr. Brown.

Mr. Brown drives the area when he is in Natchez with a very critical eye.

MDOT is always a convenient “catch-all” for complaints and blame, and I always appreciate the opportunity to give correct information to the folks of Natchez and Adams County whenever incorrect information is printed.

MDOT should not be blamed for this situation and the public should know the facts surrounding it.

Janet Sullivan

assistant to MDOT Commissioner Wayne Brown