Updated: 07/24/2014 11:26 PM
Created: 07/24/2014 11:03 PM WDIO.com
By: Zach Hammer
The future of Duluth's 4th Street was a heated topic Thursday night, as St. Louis County engineers discussed tree removal plans.
Some who attended the meeting at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth reacted strongly, with several speaking out of turn during the presentation. Concerned citizens said that community surveys were inaccurate, even drawing comparisons to the controversy-laden Red Plan.
The reconstruction of the Hillside thoroughfare will require removing and replacing all the trees from 6th Avenue East to Wallace Avenue — a roughly two-mile stretch.
The engineer in charge of the project says that about half of the trees would have to be removed regardless of the project.
"A lot of the trees are in poor condition right now," Steve Krasaway said. "A lot of them have to be removed due to utility replacement, and a lot of them need to be removed to reconstruct the roadway. In the end, we're going to replant the roadway with more trees than it has right now, with trees that are meant to be in boulevards, and really revitalize the neighborhood."
The replacement plan calls for trees 2-2.5 inches in diameter and 10 to 15 feet high.
Most of the existing trees' root structure would have been irreparably damaged by the street and sidewalk construction, the County concluded.
The tree removal has also been deemed the only option if bike routes going both directions are to be built with the new Fourth Avenue — an accommodation for which the community has shown overwhelming support, according to Krasaway.
The $8 million project is still in its preliminary design phase. There will be at least two more public meetings before it goes to the Duluth City Council.
Construction is expected to start in 2016.
For more information on the project, click here.
No Injuries in Superior Plane Crash
Two men were not injured when a small plane crashed at Superior's Bong Memorial Airport on Wednesday afternoon. The plane crashed near the Upper Deck Restaurant at about 2:14 p.m.
Wooden Railroad Bridge Burns and Collapses in N Minnesota
A wooden railroad bridge in Koochiching County collapsed Wednesday. The bridge is owned by Canadian National Railway. CN crew spotted a fire on the trestle just after 12:30 a.m. No one was injured.
Leaders Break Ground on $17.7M Port of Duluth Intermodal Project
Leaders from across the state and country gathered Wednesday to break ground on the largest infrastructure project undertaken by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in nearly half a century.
Superior Crews Respond to Fire at Enbridge Energy
The Superior Fire Department responded to the Enbridge Energy Tank Farm Facility on a report of an equipment fire just before 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Nolan Visits Duluth to Rally for Post Office
Rep. Rick Nolan visited Duluth on Wednesday to promote his ongoing efforts against the post office closure. He said he is calling on the postmaster general to keep the Duluth Distribution Center open.