Growing concerns prompt cut of growing grass along I-71 in Mason

MASON, Ohio -- It got the to point that drivers felt unsafe on I-71 in Mason before crews finally put their lawn mowers to work Thursday morning.

Grass cutters went for almost two months without mowing, allowing the height of the grass to reach between two and four feet. Drivers said they couldn't see clearly when exiting the highway.

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed that the tall grass posed a problem for drivers.

"We need to keep the grass cut so it doesn't impact sight distance for people trying to access the road there," ODOT spokeswoman Sharon Smigielski said.

The state maintains the grass for appearance and safety, according to Smigielski, and ODOT yanked the contract of the company responsible for mowing along I-71 because under the contract, safety was not being ensured.

"There was some issues that came up, some safety concerns, so the contract was suspended until the contractor could provide with us a maintenance of traffic plan to ensure that they operate safely and that they would not impact the safety of the traveling public as well as the safety of his workers," Smigielski said.

Finally, Linkel's crews put their mowers back to work Thursday, along with marked trucks, flashing lights and bright-colored clothing as safety precautions.

"Besides being a safety issue it looks much nicer when it's mowed," a driver said.

Crews said it would take a couple days to complete mowing.

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