Virginia Beach tree removal and replacement could cause traffic delays

Posted at 8:13 PM, Nov 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-01 20:13:28-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Several Bradford pear trees in Virginia Beach are coming down.

"When they were first introduced by the USDA, they were the best trees on the block," said Symsi Houser, Operations Coordinator of Landscape Management with the City of Virginia Beach.

Since then, a number of Bradford pear trees along Lynnhaven Parkway have aged and become a safety hazard.

"Sometimes without any wind or any other kind of indication, they just began to break apart," said Houser.

Bradford pears are typically beautiful trees that form white blossoms in the spring. These trees have poor branching structure, they are highly prone to fall over and are invasive. The city will be removing and replacing 67 Bradford pears on Lynnhaven Parkway between Salem and Indian River Roads, from Monday, November 4 through November 15.

The work is expected to impact traffic between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. In fact, one lane will be closed on the southbound side of Lynnhaven Parkway. The Landscape Management Tree Team will move south, from Salem Road to Indian River Road.

"I hate this tree. When the wind catches it, it blows back and forth," said A.J. Giddens, who has a Bradford pear tree in his front yard.  The tree has caused he and his family problems over the years, especially when a tree limb fell on his car during a storm.

"It fell out, landed on my roof, put a dent in it, put scratches all down the side. I mean, I'm lucky it wasn't a big one. It could've really messed my car up," said Giddens. As a result, Giddens has had to cut several branches off the tree, even during the middle of a storm.

While some people we talked to say the Bradford pears are not the best trees to have around, they still understand why others may like them because of their beauty and what they can do for the look of the City of Virginia Beach.

"These things fall in the road during storms. It's just not good. So as long as they replace it with something that does not break and fall, then I'll be completely happy with it," said Giddens.

And the City will be happy, too, when these trees are replaced with native Tulip Poplar and Bald Cypress trees before spring. This is the first phase of this tree removal and replacement project along Lynnhaven Parkway. It is being funded by donations to the City's Beautification Fund.