The City of Statesboro’s Engineering and Public Works departments have a plan to keep homes and cars along Gentilly Road out of harm’s way.
Several aging pecan trees, which for years have littered yards and streets with debris, will be removed by workers beginning Wednesday.
Approximately 40 trees — about 20 in an area where Gentilly Road and Inman Street meet and another 20 alongside Gentilly between Fair Road and Brannen Street — will be cut down to eliminate road hazards and prepare the right-of-way for construction of a sidewalk.
“The residents of the area like the atmosphere, the look of the old orchard, but understand what we are doing because they live over there; some of them have had damage to their homes, and several have had to clean debris from their yards,” said Robert Seamans, the streets and parks superintendent, who is heading the project. “Stuff is breaking off right and left. Every one of the trees is next to houses, power lines, roads and vehicles.”
Seamans said city crews have removed several limbs from streets and yards recently, as the fragile trees continue to deteriorate.
“They have all become hazards,” City Engineer Robert Cheshire said. “From a liability standpoint, it is time for the trees to come down. We have had the trees evaluated by the Statesboro Tree Board and others, who all agree.”
When work begins, people living in the area, or passing through, can expect minor disruptions.
“We are hopefully going to be working on the first section — between Inman Street and Brannen Street — for only three or four days,” Seamans said. “Certain areas, only the needed areas, will be temporarily blocked to thru traffic. We won’t be rerouting a whole bunch of people. We will have some very short detour areas that hopefully won’t create much of an impact.”
The project’s second phase — clearing trees between Brannen and Fair Road — will begin shortly after the first. Cleaning the right-of-way on that section of road will be the first step in construction of a sidewalk along Gentilly — a project scheduled for next year.
Traffic likely will not be drastically affected.
“For that stretch, we are looking at doing lane shifts,” Seamans said. “Rather than detour Gentilly traffic, we would move everyone from the lane closest to the work to the center lane, to safely ease by.”
Several trees will be planted in various locations to counter the removal. Also, fallen trees will be recycled, Cheshire said.
“As we are cutting these trees down, we will be trying to give a lot of wood away,” he said. “We will cut wood and have several locations where people can pick it up for free.”
The city will set up pickup locations at the old Sallie Zetterower Elementary and a transfer station on Lakeview Road.
People interested in the wood can call the Statesboro Engineering Department at (912) 764-0681 for more information.
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.