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Residents want to save the trees

A PennDOT official says the widening of Country Club Road will necessitate the removal of trees for safety reasons.

A PennDOT official says the widening of Country Club Road will necessitate the removal of trees for safety reasons.

September 06, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Work is ready to begin on widening and resurfacing a 2.4-mile stretch of Country Club Road in Washington Township, Pa., on a route lined by ancient trees, many of which will have to be cut down to make room for the wider roadway.

The idea of destroying trees that are centuries old is not sitting well with some of Country Club Road property owners, but state highway department engineers say it's necessary to remove the trees for safety reasons.

Greg Penny, PennDOT spokesman in Harrisburg, said Thursday that traffic surveys show that more than 1,800 vehicles a day use Country Club Road.

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The widening project will run from the borough line to Fish and Game Road.

Penny said the road will be widened to 24 feet where possible with a two-foot shoulder. It's the last two feet, the shoulder, that will come in contact with the trees - large sycamores, oaks, locust, walnut and one horse chestnut, among others.

"There are many trees close to the road and they're a safety hazard," Penny said. "We have to pit safety against aesthetics. Nothing generates more passion (among residents) than trees. People really rally for them."

"I can't see destroying trees unnecessarily. It's not environmentally sensible," said Angela Weagly whose property borders Country Club Road. None of her trees will be taken down.

"I realize it's a state road, but I can see absolutely no point in widening it," she said. "It's a speedway now. It will only get worse."

Valley Quarries, Inc., of Chambersburg, Pa., was the low bidder for the work at $721,000, Penny said.

The money was secured by State Sen. Terry Punt. Punt said it was part of PennDOT's 12-year plan and that the Country Club Road widening and resurfacing project's time had come. He said he was aware that some of the trees would have to be removed.

Each of the doomed trees has been marked with a splash of green paint which is clearly visible from the road.

Letters were distributed by Valley Quarries to property owners along the road, said Pam Mowrey, owner of an ante-bellum home. The East Branch of the Antietam Creek runs through her property along the road.

The letter explained the work to be done, including widening, resurfacing, drainage improvement and "selective tree removal." It also said any mailboxes that are in the state's right-of-way will be removed during construction. Property owners will have to replace them at their own expense, the letter said.

Mowrey said she expects to lose five or six big trees in front of her property.

"I'm not worried about it affecting my property, but this is a historic area with some historic homes," Mowrey said. "It's a shame to ruin such a beautiful area. There are so few of them left in the Waynesboro area."

Completion date for the widening project is May 2003.

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