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(Mississippi) Roadside memorials are there to remember loved ones killed in accidents, but Mississippi officials say they’re dangerous, and they want them off interstates and state-maintained highways.

MDOT workers started removing some roadside memorials earlier this year.

Mitch Turner, an engineer in MDOT’s District Two, says this is, admittedly, a sensitive issue,.

“A memorial like this inherently personal to families.”

He said removing roadside memorials from Mississippi interstates and state-maintained highways is being done for the safety of people who place the memorials, as well as drivers who slow down to look at them.

“These things, along with many other things, just added to the distractions that a driver would encounter as they drove on the road.”

After seeing an increase in the number of memorials, MDOT started enforcing a state law and removing them.

MDOT tries to locate family members who placed the memorials, but MDOT crews take pictures of where the memorials were found and even marks each item with a GPS latitude and longitude.

The memorials are stored at a MDOT maintenance office in the county where they were found.

If family members see a memorial is missing, they have two months to claim it.

But Mitch Turner said not all roadside memorials are going to be removed.

“We are not going to touch memorials that have been placed in honor of fallen highway patrolmen, MHP officers. And also we’re not to touch memorials that are legislatively placed.”

One example is the memorial on Highway 6 near Oxford, where five Ole Miss sorority members were killed in 1987.

Turner said there have been very few complaints about the policy statewide.

Brenda Hayden, from Amite, LA, said she can understand why the state is enforcing the law.

“If people are slowing down on the interstate, looking. I never did that, it never seemed to bother me. But I could see where it could you know.”

MDOT does not remove memorials on private property.

But the state’s “right of way” can vary and persons should contact MDOT if they have questions.