by Shannon Royster
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Changes are coming to Old Hickory Boulevard near Franklin Road in Brentwood after several agencies expressed concerns about the city's Bradford Pear trees being a safety hazard.
When the trees are in full bloom, no doubt about it they're definitely a sight to see.
Will Ogilvie, President of the Maryland Farms Owners Association said they first took root along Old Hickory Boulevard back in 1984.
"When Old Hickory Boulevard was widened from two to four lanes, we planted these trees in the median and at that time, they were designated as the official tree of Brentwood," said Ogilvie.
During that 30 year period, Ogilvie said the trees started to fail.
"They don't handle high winds too well and through the years they've grown too tall," said Ogilvie. "NES has had to come out regularly to prune them back to keep them out of the power lines and TDOT does a lot of maintenance work to keep them out of the roadways."
That's why changes are in the works to remove every single Bradford Pear along Old Hickory Boulevard. Stephanie Nichols, a driver who travels the road said it could be a good thing.
"I can understand because of all the power lines, so it makes a lot of sense," she said.
The tree removal will go from Franklin Road all the way through Granny White Pike in two phases. Ogilvie said it started a little behind schedule.
"The original plan called for this to take place about three weeks ago, but a lot of calls came in to city hall asking if we could let them bloom just one more time," he said.
The plans also call for new trees, which is not a popular idea with all drivers like Dwayne.
"I hate that they're planting new ones to be honest with you," he said.
About 200 more power line friendly trees will replace the old like Holly trees, Cherry trees and Magnolias.
"We all think that will help keep the maintenance costs down and the median will still have the pretty blooms on the trees during the spring," said Ogilvie.
Phase one has already begun and should be completed in 30 days. It runs from Franklin Road to West Park Drive. Phase two will pick up from there and go through Granny White Pike.
The entire project should be finished by spring of 2015.