Downed trees near highway cited as safety issue

POWNAL — Green Mountain Power expects to have downed trees left on hillsides along Route 7 during recent utility pole upgrade work cleaned up within the next two weeks, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

"Tree crews will be cleaning up the remaining work in the next two weeks," said Kristin Carlson, GMP vice president for Strategic and External Affairs. "We are also pursuing donating the wood."

Downed logs and large branches remain on steep banks along a stretch of Route 7 north and south of the Bennington-Pownal border, the result of extensive tree cutting to clear more room around poles and powerlines.

After hearing from several residents that the situation is a potential safety hazard, the Pownal Select Board voted Nov. 9 to write GMP requesting information. They said complaints focused in part of people attempting to cut up the logs for firewood, prompting concern that parked vehicles could block the highway.

Carlson said the utility plans to work with United Way of Bennington and other local organizations to distribute the wood as firewood.

The pole upgrade project involved replacement of taller utility poles further back from the Route 7 along several miles of the highway. Numerous tall trees were taken down.


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