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Trees vs. Traffic: Bridging the Debate Between Growth & the Environment

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RALEIGH — The Triangle needs to build more roads and widen existing ones. But how much should growth yield to the environment?

Old trees are part of Raleigh's landscape, but the state plans to tear down at least eight of them to make room for a new bridge on Glenwood Avenue over Wade Avenue.

"I think the entrance to the city would be defaced," says Raleigh resident Susan Little.

Little does not want to see the 70-year-old Willow Oaks removed. She is a landscape architect who lives near the bridge.

"Great cities always have great trees, and in Raleigh there are not very many areas like this. This is one of the few areas that has magnificent trees on a roadway," she says.

Engineers working with theNorth Carolina Department of Transportationsay the current, 45-year-old bridge is too low and too old.

"The bridge needs to be replaced and you try to do the least amount of damage to the environment out here," says Eddie Wetherill, a DOT engineer.

"We really covet every big tree we can retain around here," says Frank Baird, who sits on Raleigh's Appearance Commission. He says the trees can be saved.

"The bridge, I think if it's in need of repair, I think it can be repaired and beefed up structurally without having to removes all of the trees," he says.

The DOT is aware of the neighborhood concerns and plans to hold a public meeting within the next week or two to discuss the issue.

Construction on the project is set to begin in 2001 and last two years.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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