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MDOT chops trees to make ‘clear zone’

Q: Why are trees disappearing along I-55?

A: Driving to Jackson these days from Brookhaven can be a pain. There seems to be constant roadwork going on.

Those drivers making the trip north on the interstate will notice several projects currently underway.

In Copiah County, there is an 11-mile overlay project on I-55. As part of this project, the Federal Highway Administration approved a 50-foot clear zone from the outside edge of the white line of the travel lane, according to MDOT.

A clear zone on state-maintained right-of-way is a federal safety requirement to protect the public while traveling.

This is why trees are being removed and the area around the road is being cleaned up.

I-55 covers 25 miles in Copiah County. The project covers the 11 miles in the northern part of the county where I-55 switches from concrete to asphalt. According to MDOT, to save taxpayer dollars, they have combined the work in the clear zone with the work to overlay the asphalt.

Four miles of the clear zone portion of the project are complete.

A timetable for the project to be completed is still to be determined.