National Grid to remove trees threatening power lines

Westborough – A National Grid tree removal unit will be in town within the next two months to take down about 85 trees that pose a hazard to the company's power lines.

The trees, which at present include 26 located on public ground and another 57 on private property, are located along a five-and-a-half mile stretch of town on Fisher, Mill and West Main streets.

Westborough Tree Warden Dan Moynihan held a public hearing about the tree removal Jan. 7. He said a few residents attended the hearing but none had any real concerns about the work scheduled.

"The people who came were mostly there because they were curious how the work could aff ect their homes or property," Moynihan said, "or they are having a tree or trees on their property removed and they had some specific questions."

Moynihan said that on Jan. 8 he issued and sent to National Grid a permit for the tree removal. The Westborough Board of Selectmen unanimously approved National Grid's request to bring its tree removal program to town in September 2007.

Public trees tentatively scheduled for removal, Moynihan said, are six on Fisher Street, 10 on Mill Street and 10 on West Main Street. In addition, another tree on Fisher Street will be pruned.

Joan Callahan, who coordinates the tree removal program for National Grid, said only trees that are dead or dying will be removed. She said a National Grid arborist came to Westborough and identified the trees that have been tagged for removal. They include elm, hickory, horse chestnut, maple and oak.

"We only looked at trees that affected what we call the three-phase line because that's where the majority of the tree-caused power outages in Westborough have occurred over the past five years," she said.

As part of the program, Callahan said, National Grid incurs all costs for the removal and cleanup of the trees, on both public and private property.

"We do all the work and we pick up the tab for it, too," she said, "and we even let the residents keep the wood if they want."

Moynihan appreciates National Grid's tree removal program, which has been in eff ect throughout the state for about two years.

"It's great for us because these are trees that would have had to come down anyway for safety reasons, especially since they're located around the company's more critical power lines," Moynihan said, "and we don't have the money in the budget to be able to do it. So to have National Grid come in and not only remove the trees and the debris, but to pick up the cost for it, too, that's a big, big help to us."

Callahan said that some homeowners have declined National Grid's off er to remove their dying or decaying trees.

Callahan said when the tree removal crew does get to town, it should take them about two or three weeks to complete the work.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=1680

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