Probe sparked after oak trees removed Truman Pkwy project - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Truman Pkwy project strikes a nerve with officials after trees removed

Posted: Updated:
City officials view the area were oak trees were removed. City officials view the area were oak trees were removed.

One more problem with the Truman Parkway project, and it has Savannah City Councilman Tony Thomas upset and looking for answers.

This week, the paving of White Bluff Road began. But on Wednesday morning, Thomas says he noticed old Oak trees were completely gone, others were damaged, uprooted and the roots were exposed, and the median of White Bluff was "a mess".

Thomas called Walter Harper, chairman of the Chatham County Park and Tree Commission, and invited Harper, city staff and state Rep. Ron Stephens to work site to look at the damage.

"This is a travesty what has happened to these trees," Harper told WTOC. "This construction has taken a toll on so many trees."

"This is not the way road projects should be done. Not only in Savannah, but anywhere. This is a disregard by the people doing these projects towards the people who have to live here year round," Thomas said.

At least half a dozen trees were damaged during the first few days of repaving White Bluff Road. Harper said the trees, with exposed roots, will not likely be recoverable.

This latest problem comes on the heels of multiple delays in the bridge project after crews hit gas lines, casting doubt in the eyes of Thomas and others about the quality of the work being done and the safety of residents.

Thomas and Harper want the Georgia Department of Transportation to step in, even though Harper told WTOC that the DOT is usually exempt from any tree ordinances during construction projects.

"This is just not a professionally-run site. The state and whoever lead this project should be held responsible. I'd like to see it cleaned up and some sort of plan in place to fix this mess they created," Thomas told WTOC.

Harper said that from the plans he saw that removing trees was not part of the details of the project.

"I don't think it was malicious. I just think they don't know what they are doing and the trees have become the soils of their damages," Harper said.

Thomas said he and Stephens have called the DOT. Thomas said he's hoping to get the state to accept responsibility and replace trees cut down and repair damaged oaks.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow