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Trees Along Highway 290 Widening Project Set to Be Chopped

Half of the tree population in decline along this section of 290 widening plan, called Project I.
Half of the tree population in decline along this section of 290 widening plan, called Project I.
Photos by Monica Fuentes

Update 4:50 p.m.: This post was updated to include the cost for the road project and street names.

Call it arborcide or call it progress. The 290 widening project has claimed several large trees along the Highway 290 feeder road near Pinemont Drive. Pinemont to West 34th is known as Project I, which is expected to cost around $116 million once complete.

A contractor working for the Texas Department of Transportation has been removing killing the trees by chopping off the top halves and then removing the bottom halves later.

"We have so much right-of-way that we have to acquire for that project," Karen Othon, spokesperson for TxDOT's U.S. 290 program, said.

"It's on the westbound side. When we move over and start working on the eastbound section, any trees that are on the right-of-way will also be removed," Othon said. The entire 290 project is expected to be finished in 2017.

A shopping center entrance along a Hwy. 290 feeder road is getting a little less shade.
A shopping center entrance along a Hwy. 290 feeder road is getting a little less shade.

More tree-clearing is planned during the Project H phase of the widening project, from West Little York to Gessner, which will cost around $153 million, according to TxDOT.

The purpose of the tree removal is to clear space for construction of a frontage road, and to clear the way to relocate utlities. The drastic cutting is something TxDOT said it had planned and gained approval for in 2010. The agency's environmental study was cleared by the Federal Highway Administration, Othon told Hair Balls.

The 290 widening project goes from Interstate 610 to FM 2920. It's a total of 38 miles broken up into nine segments under construction.


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