Drought and Bark Beetle Damaged Trees Present Roadway Safety Hazards
SIERRA AREA – Caltrans District 3 will be joining the Governor’s drought-related State of Emergency efforts to identify, cut and remove dead and dying trees from alongside Interstate 80 and State Highway 20 beginning September 6, 2016. Tree removal operations will take place on Interstate 80 between Magra and Kingvale and on Highway 20 between Willow Valley and Yuba Pass. Removal efforts are anticipated to conclude in November.
There are more than 60 million affected trees in the state, primarily stressed by drought and infected with the bark beetle – and many of these dead or dying trees could contribute to road hazards or wildfires. The Caltrans tree removal project will improve the safety of our highways for travelers, truckers and emergency services, as well as reduce fuel for potential fires.
District 3 has contracted with certified arborists who, along with the Caltrans trained professionals of the District 3 Tree Crew, will be removing dead and dying trees within 100 feet of the roadway’s centerline. These crews will also assess trees that are capable of falling on highways, regardless of their location. As part of the program, Caltrans will:
· Identify the dead, dying and at-risk trees along state highways;
· Contact the landowner, if the tree is outside the public right of way, and discuss removal options;
· Cut and remove identified and approved trees from state right of way.
Working closely with CalFire personnel and staff from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Caltrans is working statewide to identify critical areas of concern. Caltrans News Flash #92 covers work already starting in Tuoloumne County - https://youtu.be/WOg2azsrOsA .
Roadways may be impacted by tree removal efforts. For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans QuickMap at: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/. For project updates, follow Caltrans District 3 on Twitter @CaltransDist3 and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict3.