Unsafe Tawa trees get the chop

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 11:28 31/10/2012
Tawa trees
BRIAN O'GRADY

Four pine trees fell and blocked State Highway 1 earlier this month.

Tawa trees
Roadside trees on SH1 near Tawa are being chopped down after safety concerns.

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Seventy pine trees near Wellington are being cut down after high winds caused several to fall earlier this month, blocking State Highway 1.

One vehicle was hit and traffic was delayed for several hours after four pine trees fell about two kilometres north of the Tawa offramp on October 17.

NZ Transport Agency operations manager Mark Owen said the agency was keen to make sure no more trees would fall on the state highway, potentially causing injuries.

''After the October 17 storm we inspected the remaining trees and discovered that the gap caused by the fallen pine trees has created instability in the remaining trees on either side that could create a domino effect. For the safety of motorists we decided to remove the remaining 70 pine trees,'' Mr Owen said.

''The trees were very tall and very close to Tawa College, so the added bonus of this work is that it will remove a safety risk for staff and students.''

NZTA staff discussed the issue with Tawa College and Wellington City Council and gained their agreement to remove the trees.

Work started on October 23 and is likely to be completed by November 7. While the pine trees are being removed, the northbound left lane of SH1 will be closed with a 70kmh speed limit in place during the day.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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