VDOT Begins Tree Removal in Great Falls Area

Fatal accident prompts project

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    NEWSLETTERS

    VDOT crews began the process of removing almost 60 potentially hazardous trees in the Great Falls area, where a rotted, 40-ton oak crushed a car and killed its driver one month ago. News4's Darcy Spencer has more on the aftermath of that freak accident.

    A month after a fatal accident in Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Transportation crews are trying to prevent a similar tragedy.

    Albert Carl Roeth III, 64, was killed when a huge, decaying tree fell on his Mercedes on Georgetown Pike in Great Falls, Va., after a severe summer storm.

    “I basically saw the tree falling down,” witness Lynne Simmons said. “It was very devastating, because all I could think about was there’s a person under there and there’s a family and there’s a life that’s been lost.”

    That forced VDOT to take action.

    Crews are removing 59 trees that pose a potential danger to drivers in the Great Falls area. While some residents have mixed feelings about the loss of the trees that provide shade and beauty in their neighborhoods, they support the project for safety’s sake.

    After the 40-ton decayed oak fell on Roeth's car, residents alerted government officials about other unsafe trees.

    “Some are very old, some are very large, some are very close to development, but it’s time, and if they’re dying, if they’re dead, if they’re a safety hazard, then we need to take them down,” said Jennifer McCord of VDOT. “It’s our responsibility to do that.”

    A team of Fairfax County tree experts inspected numerous trees in the Great Falls area and came up with the list of 59 to be cut down, chipped up and hauled away. The projected could last three weeks and cost between $60,000 and $80,000.