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State to fell trees on U.S. 31 median in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — The state Department of Transportation is paying $146,400 to remove more than 100 trees that were planted in the U.S. 31 median in Vestavia Hills and Homewood in a beautification effort about 20 years ago.

The uprooting project, scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Tuesday with two inside lanes blocked off until morning traffic resumes, is aimed at bringing the median into compliance with federal safety standards and reduce the state agency's liability, according to DOT officials.

Birmingham DOT division engineer Brian Davis said he sympathizes with those who want to keep the Bradford pear trees, but the department needs to reduce the risk to motorists who might hit the sturdy tree trunks if they veer off roadways.

Workers will replace the trees with hundreds of crape myrtles, holly bushes and lilies, designed to make the median attractive as well as less hazardous.

State transportation enhancement funds will pay for new plants in Vestavia Hills and other Alabama locales where trees are being removed.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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