After 15 months of discussion and investigation, the city of Richmond Hill announced this morning that the two oak trees at the corner of Highway 144 and U.S. 17 are definitely coming down.
“While we are devastated by the loss of these majestic oak trees, their removal is necessary for the safety of Richmond Hill residents,” Mayor Howard Fowler said in a news release.
Arborists commissioned by the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation concurred that the trees exhibit signs of internal rot and decay.
Planning and Zoning Director Scott Allison told city council in February 2015 that the trees would have to come down.
“They’re not going to die tomorrow, but they are dying,” he said at the time. “The fact they’re dying, there’s going to become a time when they will pose a risk to public safety.”
The city had attempted to preserve the 200-year-old trees by changing the design of the right-turn lane from Highway 144 onto U.S. 17 and posting notices that no signs were to be nailed to the oaks.
The Bryan County News will have more information about the project as it becomes available.