Published Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bill would clear trees along interstates

By WALTER C. JONES

Morris News Service

ATLANTA — Trees that could fall on interstate highways would be cleared under a bill one legislator is sponsoring on behalf of another.

It’s common for legislators to name a law for a constituent but rare to name one for a colleague.

Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, said he wants to pass the Bob Bryant Act to recognize that Rep. Bryant, D-Garden City, had his car destroyed last year driving home from the General Assembly when a tree struck it while at highway speed on I-16 near Macon.

Bryant said the experience surprised him.

“I was just cruising along and heard an explosion and didn’t know what had happened,” he said.

He wasn’t injured, but it made him leery.

“It woke me up. I got scared after the fact when I thought about what could have happened,” he said.

The bill would require the Department of Transportation to cut down all trees tall enough to fall on the roadway and sell the timber to pay for the cutting.

“Any tree on the Interstate System that is tall enough to be a hazard will be the responsibility of DOT to cut it down,” Williams said. “We’ve got some growing in the median. That’s foolish.”

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