© 2024 Interlochen
CLASSICAL IPR | 88.7 FM Interlochen | 94.7 FM Traverse City | 88.5 FM Mackinaw City IPR NEWS | 91.5 FM Traverse City | 90.1 FM Harbor Springs/Petoskey | 89.7 FM Manistee/Ludington
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why all the downed trees on I-75? Winter safety, says MDOT

A heavily forested median along I-75 near West Branch was cut down recently.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says it’s thinning out about five miles of trees roughly between mile markers 215 and 220 in Ogemaw County.

James Lake, a representative for MDOT, says safety is the main concern.

“In the wintertime, when the sun is low in the sky, the trees in the median are really shielding the pavement from the sunshine,” said Lake. “And that’s an issue because in the middle of winter when we’re trying to melt the snow and ice … every degree counts.”

Lake says several crashes have occurred along that stretch of road in past years, partially due to icy conditions.

“So trimming these trees, cutting them completely in many cases,” he said, “is going to help address that concern.”

Lake says it’s standard practice for MDOT to manage trees along roadways for a variety of reasons.

If crews haven’t already completed the project, he says, work should end within the next few days.

Ellie Katz joined IPR in June 2023. She reports on science, conservation and the environment.