Third Tree In As Many Weeks Falls On Merritt Parkway

NEW CANAAN, CT (WCBS 880) – Driving along the Merritt Parkway can sometimes feel like you’re entering an enchanted forest.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Connecticut

Old growth trees create a shaded canopy over some stretches of road, but that beauty is simultaneously a potential hazard.

Three trees have fallen in as many weeks. Three vehicles were damaged Sunday in Westport after a tree toppled across the Parkway. The week before in Fairfield, one person was hospitalized after a falling tree struck two vehicles. Three weeks ago, a tree crushed the roof of a Lincoln Town Car, killing the limo driver, during a violent rainstorm in Stamford.

In 2007, a tree hit a Volvo and killed a couple from Pelham, as their young sons watched in the back seat.

The state’s Department of Transportation has said that pruning and tree removal occur daily.

They say the trees are inspected frequently, but even healthy trees sometimes come down.

Westport first selectman Gordon Joseloff backs up the DOT.

“The DOT said that they’re doing the best they can. They’re out everyday pruning. They also encourage what they call ‘civilian spotters.’ People who drive on the Merritt parkway everyday are encouraged to call in,” he says.

Joseloff says it’s a delicate balance, maintaining the beauty of the Merritt Parkway while keeping the road safe.

And sometimes, yes, people have called to complain that too many trees have been removed.

What do you think can be done to prevent more accidents? Sound off below…

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  • Andy Anderson

    If cost were no factor while still preserving the views and animal crossing areas, a strong series cables could be suspended between large steel bollards at only the most troubled areas of the parkway. This might arrest the fall of the trees closest to the roadway and at least prevent the tree trunks from crushing a car. Judicious pruning of potential hazardous limbs overhanging the roadway would help also. But cheapest ideas always come first. Conspicuously advertise the problem and post signs on the parkway of who to call when those or any hazard are seen. Many people will rather call that number other then 911. Besides it is also in their best interests.

    • karlson

      It’s entirely stupid not to prune. If you cut back, it encourages more growth as the sun gets to areas that were shaded before cutting. There’s no reason to have a forest growing at the sides of the road.

  • Jessie Geronimo

    Those are some mean trees. It’s almost like they’re after people and cars.

  • mike flynn

    nothing more than regular inspection and trimming. no guarantees in life. stste cannot be held liable for acts of god.

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