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Pear trees coming down

The blooms on the Bradford pear trees that line the U.S. 31 median through Hartselle will be missed next spring.

The reason is the trees will be gone. Hopefully, the blooms of crepe myrtle bushes will replace them in time.

The Alabama Department of Transportation Division II has notified Mayor Dwight Tankersley that specifications for removal of the trees have been prepared for bid and the project could be in the hands of a contractor within two months.

Notice was given by letter from Division II Engineer James Brown last month.

“We have known for several years that the trees were on ALDOT’s list for removal,” said Tankersley, “so this notification didn’t come as a surprise. I hate to see them go but it’s a matter over which we have no control.”

Mark Dale, Division II maintenance engineer, said the trees will be cut and the stumps grubbed to accommodate mowing.

“The project has been put out for bids and we could be awarding a contract within the next few days,” Dale stated. “After that we’ll be talking to city officials about what variety of tree or shrubbery is allowed on federal highway medians, in the event they desire to establish another planting.”

He said the pear trees are being removed because some of them have trunks whose diameters are larger and the 4-inch maximum allowed under federal guidelines. In addition, they have reached a height that puts them in contact with overhead power lines and visibility is limited at some highway crossovers.

The pear tree project was initiated by the Hartselle Beautification Association over 20 years ago and has received the support of many individuals who donated trees in honor and in memory of family members and friends. The trees have been maintained by the same organization.

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