Going, going, gone

22:58, Dec 16 2012
Going, going, gone

Arborists are working to fell a 40-metre-tall oak tree near the corner of Maxwell and Stephenson Streets in Blenheim today after its trunk split endangering nearby houses and passing cars.

Maxwell road between Stephenson street and Whitney Street has been closed since 7am to carry out the work and is expected to open at midday today, said Hydralift crane hire manager Daniel Wallace.

A stretch of a busy Blenheim road was cordoned off on Friday after a tall oak tree split and was in danger of crashing on to houses.

The tree was on the right hand side of Maxwell Rd going south, near the Stephenson St intersection.

Speed bump: An old oak tree that split down the middle threatened to topple across Maxwell Rd

Sergeant Bill Talbot, of Blenheim, said the tree, which was between 30 and 40 metres tall, split down the middle of the trunk.

It was big enough that if it had fallen, it would have hit the house on the opposite side of the road, he said.

Arborists removed the tree's limbs to relieve the weight on the main trunk.


The trunk was then braced so it was not in danger of falling at the weekend. The rest of the tree was to be dealt with today, Mr Talbot said. The procedure was an "emergency exercise" to prevent the tree falling on to the road, crushing cars and people.

Shirley McKay, who lives opposite the tree, was among those asked to leave their homes while the tree was being worked on.

She was worried it would fall and hit her flat. "It's a pretty big tree," she said. "We used to bike up Maxwell Rd when I was a girl, and it's always been a part of Maxwell Rd. It's sad."

Police and Marlborough Roads staff cordoned off Maxwell Rd between Steph enson St and Whitney St.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robin Dunn said the tree was believed to be about 80 years old. The split was found on the trunk on Thursday and after high wind gusts on Friday, the council asked for the tree to be taken down immediately.

It was not listed as a protected tree on the council's register, although several neighbouring trees were registered, Mr Dunn said.

The Marlborough Express