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Why are all those trees getting cut down on Ga. 400?
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Georgia Department of Transportation crews have been clearing trees along the side of Ga. 400 northbound. - photo by Micayla Wise

We asked our followers on Instagram to fill in the blank with the following question: I wonder why ____ in Forsyth County? One follower asked why "they're cutting down all those trees on 400?" Here's the answer our news staff tracked down.

Motorists on Ga. 400 have noticed that the highway they have gotten to know well on their daily commute has been looking a little more barren lately.

That's because the Georgia Department of Transportation has started removing trees from the sides of Ga. 400 as part of its vegetation management project for the safety of Georgia’s drivers.

Department spokeswoman Katie Strickland said that removing the trees 50-75 feet from the pavement of the roadway will prevent trees from falling into the roadway, especially during winter weather when trees may freeze up and fall over. GDOT also wants to keep the sides of highways and busy roads clear to lower the risk of any drivers who veer off of the road from crashing into a tree, which can result in serious injury or death.

“The key here is that it increases safety for drivers,” Strickland said.

Facebook user Adam Cummings recently posted a photo of a tree falling over onto 400 southbound.

“Which should answer why they are cutting trees away from the roadsides along 400,” Angela Hill commented.

The project has not been implemented by GDOT in the past because Strickland said this is the first time that the department has had the funding to dedicate to maintenance contract projects such as the vegetation management project.

GDOT workers are currently removing trees from Ga. 400 northbound, and they plan to finish by fall 2020 before starting again on the southbound side in the summer.

In the past few years, GDOT has been involved in similar vegetation management projects on major highways around the state. The Savannah Morning News reported in July 2017 that residents started to notice trees missing from the sides of Interstate 516 in Savannah and from Ga. 16, which runs through nine Georgia counties.