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Political signs unsafe and illegal along state highways

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Signs are not allowed in highway right of ways that can extend over 300 feet from the centerline of driving lanes. (Photo courtesy MDOT)

Every election cycle, drivers begin to see campaign signs sprout up along roadways throughout the state. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds candidates and supporters that it is illegal to place signs in the right of way of state highways.

A clear right of way helps maintain the safety of the traveling public and highway workers. Illegally placed signs could limit visibility. Signs with metal or wooden posts could cause injuries if a motorist leaves the roadway.

“Political signs should only be placed in legal areas, so the safety of motorists and roadside workers is not put in jeopardy,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “It is important to know the laws regarding campaign sign placement because it can become a problem before and after an election.”

The width of highway right of way varies by location and can extend over 300 feet from the centerline of driving lanes. The right of way is typically larger at intersections where longer sight lines are needed.

MDOT workers will remove any signs illegally placed in highway right of way. The signs will be kept for two weeks at a local MDOT maintenance facility before being discarded. Candidates can retrieve the signs from MDOT without any penalty.

Removal of illegal campaign signs during and after elections contributes to the $3 million annual cost to keep highways clear of litter.

“Litter removal costs taxpayers money and takes skilled highway workers away from other projects,” McGrath said. “If election litter can be deployed and disposed of correctly, the savings could be put toward maintaining our highway system.”

Candidates and supporters can contact their local MDOT maintenance office for more information about rights of way along particular stretches of highway. To review laws and regulations governing signs on state highways, see Section 63-3-317 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 Annotated.

 

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Vicksburg luncheon and roundtable focused on domestic violence

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Gina Hendrickson and Emmarie Flaggs hosted a luncheon and roundtable discussion on domestic violence. (photo by Keith Phillips)

Vicksburg community activists Gina Hendrickson and Emmarie Flaggs hosted a domestic violence awareness luncheon and roundtable Tuesday at the Biscuit Company.

Hendrickson and Flaggs were joined by judges, police officers, pastors other influential people in the community who deal with domestic violence on a daily basis.

Flaggs expressed the importance of knowing about domestic violence, and emphasized that everyone can find support locally in Vicksburg.

“If you are still here, you have a purpose,” Flaggs said, addressing those who have been victimized by domestic violence.

The roundtable covered topics related to the issue, including the mental, emotional and physical stress that domestic violence causes in a household.

Hendrickson shared her personal history of domestic violence and urged people in violent relationships to reach out to friends for support. Restraining orders do not always work against abusers, she said.

The luncheon also featured people who help domestic violence victims including representatives from Haven House and Positive Pathways.

Domestic violence crosses all socio-economic boundaries, and affects people from all walks of life. Vicksburg has seen its share of residents killed as a result of domestic violence Warren County Judge Marcie Southerland pointed out.

It also affects children, not only taking a toll on them now, but affecting how they respond in the future. Domestic violence tends to be cyclical in families when children grow up thinking that it’s normal.

“Always think about the children because childhood issues turn into adulthood issues,” Flaggs said.

To view the full round table discussion, visit Emmarie Flaggs Facebook page.

If you are a victim of domestic violence in Vicksburg, call 911 if you need immediate assistance.

If you need shelter and other types of assistance, call Mountain of Faith at 601-501-4508 or Haven House at 601-638-0555.

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Teenager missing near Big Black River

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Sterling Powell (photo courtesy HCSO)

Authorities are searching for a Hinds County teenager near Edwards, Mississippi.

Sterling Powell, 17, was last seen Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. near the 6300 Blk. of Anderson Road in Edwards near the Big Black River.

He was wearing black pants, a white shirt, a black jacket and a blue cap.

A search and rescue team is combing the woods for Powell in Edwards near where he was last seen, WLBT reports.

If you have any information on Powell’s whereabouts, call the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office 601-352-1521

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Update: Mississippi River Bridge project on target for early 2021 completion

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Paving work continues on the eastbound lane of I-20 over the Mississippi River. (photo courtesy LDOTD)

The $27.5 million rehabilitation of the Interstate 20 Mississippi River Bridge is on target for completion in early 2021, weather permitting, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced Wednesday.

The nearly 50-year-old structure provides one of the few interstate crossings over the river, connecting Madison Parish, Louisiana, to Vicksburg and Warren County.

Since the project began in January 2020, the contractor has completed the rehab work on the bridge deck in both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane. Paving continues in the other eastbound lane.

Repairs are also complete to the transverse beam of the structure, which serves to help transmit the loads crossing the bridge. Additionally, two bearings on one of the piers have been replaced.

The new inspection walkway on the downstream side of the bride is nearly complete, as well as the ladders that provide access to the aerial beacons.

The contractor continues to work on improvements to the electrical power distribution system, lighting and instrumentation. Nearly 100 roadway lighting fixtures are being replaced with a modern LED system.

Roadway fiber optics are also being replaced with new cameras and radar that will be integrated into Mississippi’s IT Network.

Soon, work will begin on the access stairs for the new inspection walkway, in addition to repairs to the major expansion joints of the bridge. The steel structural connections at certain locations on the bridge are being modified to improve resilience against a variety of loads and conditions.

DOTD reminds motorists that lane closures remain in place on the bridge as work continues. Drivers are urged to travel with caution through the construction zone.

In Louisiana, call 511 or visit www.511la.org for additional information. Out-of-state travelers may call I-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).

 

Paving work continues on the eastbound lane of I-20 over the Mississippi River. (photo source: LDOTD)

 

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