Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
All Georgia Interstate and Limited Access Highways
Submitted by: Kent Igleheart
Destruction of unique tree-lined highways throughout Georgia.
GDOT intends to cut 32-foot (urban) and 50-foot (rural) "clear zones" along over 1500 miles of highways throughout Georgia, destroying thousands of acres of trees.
History & Background
GDOT has spent or budgeted $5.2 million to cut over 150 miles of trees along highway in the first three years of a 10 year program. GDOT cites overall crash and fatality data as the justification for this program, but initial analysis of some sections planned to be cut do not support this effort. For example, on the 16 miles of GA400 that will be cut to reduce tree-related fatalities, there have been ZERO tree-related fatalities since 1995.
The American Association of State Highway Transportation Official's (AASHTO) standard for dealing with clear zones gives specific ranges that vary by road segment based on road design speeds, curvature of roads and the terrain alongside pavement. AASHTO guidelines for trees involve detailed analyses that consider accident histories and documentation substantiating tree removal or alternative treatments. GDOT has not done this type of targeted analysis.
AASHTO states "simply developing a 'one size fits all' guideline does not address the important issues of all stakeholders. For instance, requiring a 30-foot clear zone in all cases is not reasonable".
GDOT refuses to listen to citizen groups who have presented analysis to show this program is unjustified and GDOT deserves to be the first organization inducted into the Hall of Shame.
Scenic Georgia, 100 North Pond Way, Roswell, GA 30076; (770) 642-1633