Following a request by newly-elected commissioner Peter Murphy, Glynn County public works will begin working with a contractor to trim up the deadwood in the tree canopy over Frederica Road.
“(Work will be) starting next Wednesday after 9 o’clock. We’ll wait until morning traffic dies down and get out before lunch traffic picks up,” said Public Works Director Dave Austin.
Jones Tree Service will begin on Wednesday and Thursday next week and will work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays going forward. They will start at Palm Drive and work north to Lawrence Road. The project is anticipated to take two to three weeks, but the density of the canopy could draw it out into a fourth week.
“Jones Tree Service is going to do it, (owned by) Andy Jones. He’s an arborist, he knows how to cut the trees and where to cut the trees. Our public works folks are just going to be there to direct traffic and make sure the area’s safe,” Austin said.
Austin said they will be assessing other roads as they go along and cut them as needed. Frederica Road south of Palm Drive, Kings Way and Demere Road will all be inspected to see whether or not the canopy along those roads poses a threat to drivers, according to Murphy.
“The initial effort will be the northern aspect of Frederica, but once they’ve completed that the arborist and the other experts are going to have to look at the other major thoroughfares,” Murphy said.
Cutting limbs out of the trees will require some traffic obstruction.
“There will be temporary one-lane closures, potentially two-lane depending on how big the limb over the road is,” Austin said. “It’s something that needs to be done, but it can inconvenience folks traveling up and down Frederica.”
Any two-lane closure will last less than five minutes, Austin said. Should an unforeseen issue cause a two-lane closure to go on for any significant amount of time, drivers will likely be detoured through Sea Palms.
“There is a detour possibility, but if we have both lanes closed it would just be temporary until the limb can be cut down and falls and it can be scurried off the road,” Austin said.
Despite any inconvenience it may present, both Murphy and Austin believe now is the best time to take on this project.
“This is probably the best time to do it. This is the slowest time, we have the people to do it an we’ve got the time to do it, so we’re going to do it while that’s all aligned,” Austin said.
Murphy agreed, saying it would be worse to wait for the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission to finish sewer upgrades along the Frederica, which is expected to be completed by July. Austin said it is unlikely the contractor will interfere with the utility’s work, as they will primarily be off the road boring under the sidewalk to install a larger sewer pipe.
“This deadwooding of the trees to take care of these limbs before they fall down and kill somebody, there’s never a good time to do hat, but out of all the times of the calendar January and February make the most sense,” Murphy said. “This is the best time to do it. If we wait for the JWSC to finish their project, it will be summer and we can’t do it then. It might be inconvenient, but it’s the best time to get it done.”
Austin said the project has already been reviewed and approved by county arborist Don Gardner, and public works was able to do some of the work following Hurricane Matthew.
“We did a little bit of it when the island was evacuated, we’ve seen the need to do it, but when you do anything on Frederica it’s a third rail,” Austin said.
The county plans on keeping the public, especially residents in the area, apprised of the progress.
“Most of the folks on the island are pretty good about putting up with our maintenance needs if they know why and how long,” Austin said.