QUESTION: The new cement median at the intersection of O’Neal Lane and Old Hammond Highway was constructed with intervals of 6-inch gaps in the concrete. These gaps were just enough to catch and destroy a front tire as it rolled onto the structure. What can be done to better mark the median?

ANSWER: After we notified the state Department of Transportation and Development about the situation, the median was painted in bright yellow. “Islands, such as the median curbing in this case, are not typically painted if they are outlined with the appropriate pavement markings, such as striping,” said DOTD spokeswoman Anastasia Semien. “The curbing may be painted or supplemented with reflectors if it has been determined to be difficult to distinguish from certain perspectives due to poor lighting, roadway geometry, the cross slope of the road, etc.

“DOTD will have an engineer visit the location and evaluate it.”

QUESTION: Where does the money come from to mow along the interstates? How much does it cost yearly? If they would let nature take over, and stopped mowing, could that money be put to the state budget for schools or hospitals?

ANSWER: Rodney Mallett, another DOTD spokesman, says the agency spends $30 million a year on statewide mowing, litter pickup and herbicide application.

“The money used to mow and for litter pickup comes from the Transportation Trust Fund. The money from that fund is constitutionally dedicated to transportation and can’t be put to the general fund for use for schools and hospitals.

“If we didn’t mow and pick up litter, the uncontrolled growth of brush coupled with the litter buildup would be unsightly and present a poor public image. Not mowing would also lead to the growth of trees, which would be located too close to the road and present a safety issue.

“Speaking of safety, drivers would have issues with line-of-sight and reaction times associated with animals getting onto the roadway when the brush is too high or too close to the roadway. And, if we let nature take over, the brush would grow so high that drivers wouldn’t be able to see the roadway signs.”

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