GENOA TWP., Ohio (WCMH) — A road construction project in Delaware County has left neighbors upset, after trees alongside the road were cut down.
Because many of these trees were in the right-of-way, some neighbors didn’t know the trees adjoining their properties would be cut down until just a couple of months ago, and they told NBC4 they say they weren’t given a choice.
Rob Riley, the chief deputy engineer for Delaware County, said the $2.5 million project is to add a traffic signal and turn lanes at the intersection of Big Walnut and Worthington Roads. He also noted that crash reports show six crashes in the last five years at a curve on that section of Big Walnut Road, two of which were injury crashes.
Brad Zech and his neighbors aren’t happy to see what construction has brought.
“It’s just a huge part of history. There just aren’t things that old that people get to see anymore,” Zech said. “It’s just a shame, just a shame.”
Zech’s trees are safe, but his neighbors’ aren’t.
“I don’t like it,” Amy Beougher said. “We’ve lived here a long time and this is—these trees are one of the main reason that we picked this house.”
Beougher said she found out that her trees would be cut down about two months ago after one of her neighbors told her. She told NBC4 the trees are considered to be in easement, but she said about one third of each tree sits on her property.
Kathy Davis, who lives nearby said she hopes the township and county will find a way to save some trees, for historical reasons.
“I wanted to cry when I saw that oak tree had been cut down,” Davis said, referring to a large, old oak tree on the south side of Big Walnut Road. “It was a gorgeous oak tree, and it’s very, very sad to a lot of people.”
Neighbors said since the road is being re-aligned to the south, they don’t understand why trees on the north side have been cut down.
In a statement, Riley, from the Delaware County Engineer’s Office said in part, “The trees being removed on the north side of the road are in the existing public right of way and need to be removed to build the road and relocate utilities. We understand residents are concerned and we take the removal of trees very seriously. The county’s contractor isn’t removing any more trees than needed to get the job done and make the road safe.”
Riley said they’ll be relocating the utilities alongside the road through this spring. Road construction will start in the summer and is scheduled to be finished in October of next year.
The plans given to neighbors about this project can be found here: ftp://ftp.co.delaware.oh.us/Engineering/DEL-CR13-4.04/