Roadside memorials removed to comply with federal guidelines

GREENE COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - It is not uncommon to drive the roads and see memorials placed where loved ones were killed in accidents, but soon drivers will see fewer and fewer.

That's because the Mississippi Department of Transportation is removing those memorials, among other things, that are in the right of way.

"Any memorials that we find in our mowing operation, they are removed," said MDOT's Michael Flood.

According to Rule 941-7501-0900, highway shoulders are to be used "during emergencies only" and anything that is considered an "encroachment" on travelers could cause the department to lose federal funding.

Residents in Greene County are feeling the effects of this policy just three short weeks after two EMS officials were killed in a fiery crash on Highway 63.

Friends and family placed two crosses off the highway last week, but MDOT removed them because they were in the right of way.

MDOT Commissioner Tom King said the crosses sat 36 feet and seven inches from the middle of the road, yet the right of way at that location is at least 50 feet.

Any memorials that are removed are stored at a county MDOT office for three months. Loved ones can make an appointment with the office to pick up the memorial, which is photographed and geographically marked before it is removed.

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