Trees in Lapeer County might be coming down to help improve road - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Trees in Lapeer County might be coming down to help improve road safety

Trees in Lapeer County might be coming down to help improve road safety

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LAPEER COUNTY (WJRT) - (06/27/14) - Cars smashing into trees is part of the reason the Lapeer County Road Commission wants to take some out along a stretch of road, but the plan has a lot of people upset.

David Poole lives on McDowell Road in a house tucked away behind four trees.

"These are my trees, they're hardwood trees, they're beautiful trees," he said.

Lapeer County Road Commission calls them obstructions in the road right-of-way. The commission is looking to cut them down for road safety.

"These trees are over 200 years old, and I mean my kids' kids' kids' kids aren't going to be able to replace these trees. They want to cut 'em up," Poole said.

County highway engineer Ryan Doyle says they are dangerous, especially for night time drivers who may leave the road in this area.

"We had 10 fixed object crashes, five overturns, one fatality in each category and some other injuries. So we were looking at safety improvements that will help protect the people when they leave the road," Doyle said.

That's why they applied for a high-risk rural road grant, a $174,000 federal grant that lets them remove hazards within 33 ft from the center of McDowell Road.

"We have guardrail improvements, we're upgrading the signage out there to brighter signs with reflective strips on them. And then there'll be fixed object removals - trees, headwalls, vertical headwalls on driveways," Doyle said.

The neighbors stand on the other side of the project.

"I'd rather see them cut all the deadwoods down in the right of way. They're more of a hazard than the ones that are standing up," Poole said.

Poole argues the trees protect him from careless drivers.

"They protect me from those drunk drivers they worry about from coming up and being able to run right into my living room," Poole said.

The Road Commission is looking to start the project on July 7, 2014 and is expected to be completed by August.

"Looking at the crash statistics, over a long period of time, are pretty consistent. Eventually, if we do this, eventually we can save somebody from getting hurt or save somebody from getting killed," Doyle said.

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