Timber! H-3 trees to be pruned


POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trees along the H-3 freeway will soon be cut down or pruned to ensure safety for motorists.


;[Preview]    DOT Cuts Trees On H3 Freeway  

Officials and tree experts were out checking along the freeway to make sure they don't cut back so much that it ruins the natural beauty of the highway.


Watch ]





  The state Department of Transportation is slated to begin pruning or removal of about 140 trees at the beginning of next month. Work to be done by Imua Landscaping Co. Inc. is expected to be completed in February. This is the first such project along the H-3 freeway.


The project will first take place along the Kaneohe-bound side of H-3, from the beginning of the freeway to the tunnel. Thereafter, crew members will work on the town-bound side. The right and shoulder lanes will be shut down from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays during the duration of the project, which is estimated to cost $100,000.

Among the species targeted by the project are gunpowder; schefflera, also known as the octopus tree; monkeypod; and christmasberry trees. A number of the trees have suffered termite damage.

Certified arborist Steve Nimz and his team were hired by the state to survey the area. Nimz said trees like the gunpowder and schefflera tree, which are considered invasive species, grow at a fast rate.

“;We're looking at the most critical trees, the ones that have the most threat to the highway,”; he added. The gunpowder tree grows about 10 feet a year, while the schefflera tree grows about five feet a year. While the trees are not fully grown and do not pose a hazard, Nimz said it is ideal to begin tree trimming and removal at this time to reduce the risk to motorists should tree branches break and fall on the roadway.

The trees will be mulched and taken to Hawaiian Earth Products in Kapolei to be recycled into compost.

Bob Loy, director of environmental programs for the Outdoor Circle, said he is grateful the state is approaching the project the “;right way.”;

Last year the nonprofit organization received a stream of calls from the public after the state cut down more than 50 trees along the H-2 freeway from Waipio to Mililani.

Callers were concerned about the removal, saying that the trees served as a noise buffer as well as beautified the highway.

The Outdoor Circle contends that the state failed to consult with an independent arborist about the tree removal and went beyond a buffer zone, from 50 to 100 feet between the trees and the freeway, cutting down trees that did not pose a hazard to H-2 drivers.