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Ask 13: Who's cutting trees along I-40 in Haywood County?

Work along Interstate 40 from Canton to Waynesville and on U.S. 276 in the Jonathan Creek area has prompted questions from several viewers. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Tree work along two roads in Haywood County has some drivers wondering why the timber and shrubs are coming down.

Work along Interstate 40 from Canton to Waynesville and on U.S. 276 in the Jonathan Creek area has prompted questions from several viewers.

"Can you please shed some light on the massive tree cutting that is taking place alongside I-40 between Clyde and Canton?" Anita Samuel wrote Ask 13.

And Hailey Walksler sent this: "On Highway 276 in the Jonathan Creek area, they are literally ripping out all of the beautiful mature burning bushes from the median. Why are they doing this?"

N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman David Uchiyama said the tree and shrub removal is for driver safety.

"People need to be able to see around the roads, around the curves, around the bushes," Uchiyama said. "And something else that needs to happen, we need to make sure that trees and other debris doesn't fall into the road, on the shoulders or anything else that's supporting our traffic."

Uchiyama said controlling vegetation and it's growth is sometimes an overlooked aspect of N.C. DOT maintenance. But it is something that happens routinely, not only here but along roads across the state.

The other benefit of spring tree trimming -- it clears a path for crews who will begin mowing soon for the summer.

While some might think the cutting is overkill, the DOT said this kind of maintenance is crucial to protecting the safety of the motoring public.

If you have a question, write to Ask13@WLOS.com.

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