MassDOT Defends Tree Clearing Amid Protests

At this morning's Massachusetts Department of Transportation meeting in Sagamore, local officials, including State Representative Sarah Peake, State Representative Randy Hunt, and Lance Lambros, representing State Senator Therese Murray.

At this morning’s Massachusetts Department of Transportation meeting in Sagamore, local officials, including State Representative Sarah Peake, State Representative Randy Hunt, and Lance Lambros, representing State Senator Therese Murray.

SAGAMORE – State transportation officials came under fire this morning from protesting residents and elected officials over the tree clearing project on Route 6 between exits 2 and 3.

Transportation officials defended the project, saying the clearing is necessary to make the road safer.

They said a 25-foot buffer zone between the road and trees needs to be established to keep drivers safe in the event they enter the median.

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But State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich) questioned that argument.

“I would assume that part of the reason [Route 6] has a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit is because it’s not as safe as Route 3 is, or some other places where we have a 65-mile-per-hour speed limit,” Hunt said. “So does that not compensate for the fact that we have a more historic road?”

MassDOT officials acknowledged some of the cutting went too far, and promised to replant in the areas where the clearing was too aggressive.

“The overcutting was an error,” said MassDOT District 5 Director Mary-Joe Perry. “That will be taken care of with the contractor being held accountable.”