Jindal Intervenes To Save Oak Trees
BATON ROUGE (AP) — State highway officials have agreed not to cut down 13 oak trees — some 100 years old or older — along a two-lane stretch of highway in St. Mary Parish now that Gov. Bobby Jindal has intervened.
The Advertiser reports the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri Lebas, in a news release Tuesday, said Jindal asked the department to preserve the trees "because of their importance to the parish and state."
DOTD had marked 36 oak trees along a 4.73-mile section of La. 182 for destruction in order to produce a 10-foot clear zone between the road and obstructions. Lebas says the department recognizes the significance of the 13 trees and they will not be removed. There was no mention of the other 23.
"These oak trees are a part of our Louisiana heritage and represent hundreds of years of our state's history," Jindal said in the release.
Lebas said the department may only need to trim low-hanging branches to allow safe passage of large sugar cane trucks and farm equipment. It also may install safety enhancements like rumble striping along the edge of the roadway, non-reflective raised pavement markings and enhanced signage.
Lebas said the project is expected to begin in February.
More than 670 people signed an online petition asking the DOTD not to kill the oak trees.