(SAVANNAH) The tree canopy in the Hostess City is a trade mark of character, ambiance, and charm of Savannah. But the natural beauty and shade of the tree comes at a cost as the live oaks limbs, draped with Spanish Moss, can grow to block motorists view of traffic signals. There’s an example of this particular problem on the western side of the intersection of Bee Road and Victory Drive. Michelle Gavin, Public Information Officer for Savannah, says it’s a problem people should report as soon as possible. “If a citizen notices that a tree is hanging low or the Spanish Moss is hanging down obscuring a traffic light, they need to immediately call 311.” said Gavin. She says when the public shares information about trees posing public safety hazards, those reports are bumped up to the top of the list of problems the city needs to fix. “That’s a priority one call for our Park & Tree Department, to go out, observe the area, and if it does in fact need to be trimmed, they will get on that right away, within 48 hours.” Gavin said.
Low hanging branches don’t just block traffic lights, they can actually stop traffic. Monday morning, traffic on Waters Avenue was stopped near Victory Drive after a tractor-trailer hit a tree branch over Waters as it made a delivery to a construction site. City tree cutters were brought in to free the big rig and get traffic flowing again. Gavin says it’s an example of the ever-changing nature of the tree canopy in Savannah. “With Savannah, there’s a lot, many variables that can change the affects of the trees that are hanging too low. whether it’s severe weather one day that may disrupt the trees and bringing a limb down further or a tree, or a truck, excuse me, coming by and hitting one of these branches. So the circumstances could change which is why so much relies on our citizens to call us to let us know when they see one of these problem areas so we can come out and address it.” said Gavin.
To borrow a phrase from police, when it comes to safety hazards due to trees in Savannah, Gavin says if you see something, you should say something. “When you see trees blocking traffic signals or if they look low enough to physically obstruct truck traffic, you’re urged to call the Savannah Service Center at 3-1-1 .” Gavin said. Citizens and visitors can also report tree safety issues online at the City of Savannah’s website.