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Madison County Highway Department removes three dozen trees on East Lake Road

Madison County Highway Department crews strip cut a swath of about three dozen trees on East Lake Road last week, citing drainage and public safety issues.

Madison County Highway Department crews strip cut a swath of about three dozen trees on East Lake Road last week, citing drainage and public safety issues. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— Every tree on East Lake Road cut by the county last week, in fact, was located on land the county owns “in fee,” not Owera land that happened to be in the county right-of-way, which is often the case with tree removals, Wisinski said.

All the trees removed were, however, also in the regular 33-foot county highway right-of-way.

County — and town — highway departments often receive requests from residents to remove trees in the highway right-of-way if the trees appear to be dying, dead or in some way hazardous the motoring public.

Cazenovia Town Highway Superintendent Tim Hunt said when he gets called by residents seeking tree removal, he investigates the tree to determine if it is dangerous to the motoring public, and, if so, they remove it.

“We’re here to maintain the highway and traffic safety,” he said. “We don’t just do work for people.”

Typically, when the county is called out for a tree removal request, county crews examine the area to ascertain if any additional health and safety issues exist, and, if so, they take care of it while they are there, Wisinski said.

“This keeps us from having to respond every time there is a rain storm or substantial wind from cleaning up road and also protects the motoring public from the hazard of a tree falling on car,” he said.

In this case, the county first determined there were seven or eight dying or dead trees in front of Owera, and those were marked for removal with spray-painted frowny-faces on the pavement in front of each tree. Upon further inspection, it was decided that the strip of trees ranging from Owera’s driveway to its nearest southern neighbor had grown so close to the road that the drainage ditch once there was completely gone. Without a drainage ditch present, water cannot drain off the road shoulder during a rain event. When water remains on a road it can puddle and cause cars to hydroplane; it can also “undermine” the edge of the pavement and cause road maintenance issues, Wisinski said.

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