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4 Comments

  1. Brian
    April 13, 2016 @ 3:46 am

    I was asked to post this information by the writers of the story. First let me explain the real purpose of interstate highways. A test was conducted to move troops and equipment from the east coast to the west coast back after WW1. The federal government found it took months and many roads had to be built along the way. This was a major safety issue for our country at a time of way. Eisenhower enacted the deferral highway system for the sole purpose of move goods and troops from one side of the country to the other in a timely manor. To sell this to the public they used the current scare of that time period. I am sure some of you have heard duck and cover. The federal interstate highway was passed as a measure so large cities could evacuate at a time of nuclear attack. But the real purpose was for military and commerce use. When the highways were started one standard had to be made. Have you ever wondered why the are multiple straight stretches of road on every interstate. The reason is because the highways must be able to land a military aircraft at times of war or natural disaster. In order for this to happen there has to be multiple stretches of roadway of over a mile long with no curves. Trees must be trimmed back as to clear wings from large planes. This standard still applies today. Trees must be trimmed back by a minimal amount of feet. Many states did not follow this as part of normal maintenance. Recent crash studies found that tree lining the interstate close caused drivers to get tunnel vision. Many lost site of dear or crashes ahead as they drove. With the more recent distracted driver issue I personal have seen some slightly go off the road, panic by over correcting, then loose control and go off the road. Some slide safely into an open area, but many go into the trees. There was a rash of accidents in Alabama and Mississippi these past 10 years that had a higher than normal death count. It was found that both of these states failed to keep trees trimmed back from the interstate. Now these states are in the process right now in clearing back all trees to the proper military guidelines required of the interstate. Georgia stepped up and did the same. Many other states are following suite. One of my last jobs I worked was as an over the road truck driver. I have over 2 million accident free miles. I have seen my fare share of deaths on the road and many near misses. Were trees are cut back drivers can see further down the road, have better views in curves, and have less accidents. No mater how good something sounds there are always another side. No environmental law should ever put anyone in danger. Adding more trees to the highway would do just that.

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  2. Tim Troxler
    April 17, 2016 @ 6:42 pm

    For nearly a decade I worked for the landscape and urban design unit of the NJDOT. We produced planting plans for highway projects. Once you calculate the roadside clear zones, sight-distance lines, and recovery zones, you are left with little scraps of land. On that we would pack in as many trees as we could, but survivability was not great due to the harsh conditions related to pollution and road salt, among other things. If there was more funding available for more right-of-way, you could create a wider buffer, but that usually is not the case, especially in urban areas where land is expensive. And urban highways are the better candidates for having a vegetated strip along them to filter particulate pollutants and provide a visual screen. And of course the urban highways see more traffic and so would serve better as a carbon sink. Then you have to also consider that vegetated medians can decrease crossover accidents by creating a barrier between opposite lane traffic. Just at the cost of installing guide rail along it to keep errant vehicles out of the median.

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  3. Mark KIlimek
    June 2, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

    I just read your article about planting trees in freeway medians. This is a BAD idea. There are many cars over the year the slip off into the medians going 65-80 MPH. Currently, the soft dirt and high grass slow them down and the result is a messed up car. If you were to hit a tree at 50 mph or greater head on, you will most likely die. I would suggest shrubs or bushes instead of trees. This will allow us to soak up more CO2, and beautify our roadways while keeping them safe.

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  4. Dan Meyers
    June 4, 2017 @ 4:14 am

    If not trees, how about planting bushes and other tall grasses?

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