Warwick officials mapping out plan for Route 78 tree removal

Trees along Route 78 in Warwick.

Trees along Route 78 in Warwick. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Felled trees along Route 78 in Warwick.

Felled trees along Route 78 in Warwick. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Trees along Route 78 in Warwick.

Trees along Route 78 in Warwick. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 02-08-2024 4:10 PM

WARWICK — Town and state officials are in the last leg of the planning process to remove dozens of trees from Winchester Road (Route 78) that are deemed a threat.

According to Selectboard member Keith Ross, the plan is to remove an estimated 80 to 100 trees from either side of the road. Because the state owns a portion of the land where Route 78 is located, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is handling removal on one side while Warwick takes care of the other. Ross said that only trees that have already fallen or are leaning over will be taken, and the goal is to keep as many as possible.

“Most of the trees that have fallen will be removed and chipped up,” Ross said.

Selectboard Chair Alan Genovese said a meeting will be held on Monday to review the different phases of the project, as well as local and state involvement.

“There are a lot of issues that people are working on to bring together and map out the phases,” he said. “Right now, they’re looking at tagging trees that are most critical to come down in Phase 1 and see the best time to take those down, then move on to other phases in the spring.”

Removal of the trees will be the first phase, Ross said, followed by the repair of a guardrail damaged by fallen trees over the years and relocation of a phone line.

“This has been an ongoing problem,” Ross said. “As trees get big, heavy snow pushes them out to the road.”

He added that during this time the road will be closed and detoured for roughly a week, though a start date for the project has not yet been determined. The town’s portion will be paid for with money received for repairs caused by recent storms.

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Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@recorder.com or 413-930-4074.