Caltrans’ Critical Role as State Battles Dead and Dying Trees that Threaten Roads, Residents and Environment

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Interstate_40_in_Fenner_Valley_1TUOLUMNE COUNTY — Caltrans, working under the Governor’s drought-related State of Emergency, is identifying, cutting and removing dead and dying trees from alongside state highways. These are trees primarily killed by drought or the bark beetle, and are threatening to impact state highways or provide fuel to wildfires.

Working in collaboration with CAL FIRE, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, along with county governments and utility companies, Caltrans is already cutting and removing trees on State Route 108 (SR-108) and SR-120 in Tuolumne County. Additional tree-removal projects are scheduled for adjoining counties, as well as counties across California that are impacted.
Sierra Mountain Construction of Sonora is the contractor for the first of these projects, and it is scheduled to remove more than 4,000 at-risk trees along SR-108 in Tuolumne County.

Crews will be removing dead and dying trees within 100 feet of the center of the road. Crews will also assess trees that are capable of falling on highways, regardless of their location.
As part of the program, Caltrans will:

• Identify the dead, dying and at-risk trees along state highways;
• Contact the landowner, if the tree is outside the public right of way, and discuss removal options;
• Cut and remove identified and approved trees from state right of way.

For a video update on this effort, please visit https://youtu.be/WOg2azsrOsA .