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State plans to cut down trees on parkway this weekend

September 20, 2018

The state Department of Transportation says a tree removal operation will be performed on Route 15 (Wilbur Cross Parkway) in New Haven, Woodbridge, Hamden and North Haven this weekend.

State crews will cutting down dead trees, high limbs and clearing signs blocked by vegetation.

Crews will be working from 6 a.m. to noon on both Saturday and Sunday.

The DOT says, motorists can expect north and southbound lane closures between Exit 59 (Route 69, Whalley Avenue) and Exit 63 (Hartford Turnpike) in New Haven, Woodbridge, Hamden and North Haven. A moveable sign pattern will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone.

The state began a larger tree-clearing project on the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways after an autumn nor’easter in 2011 took down roadside trees.

Several people have also been killed on the Meritt by falling trees.

On March 2, a 25-year-old New Jersey man was killed when a tree fell on his Mini Cooper between exits 33 and 31, which is the Stamford-Greenwich stretch of the highway. State Police said Police said that as the car approached the Riverbank Road overpass, a “large” tree dislodged and fell directly on top of the vehicle. Police blamed the accident on rain and “severe” crosswinds from a nor’easter that day.

Earlier this year, the state settled a lawsuit with the estate of two former New York residents who were killed by a falling tree in Westport in 2007.

Joseph Stavola, 46, and his wife, Jean Serocke Stavola, 44, of Pelham Manor, N.Y. died when a 70-foot white pine tree fell on their Volvo sport-utility vehicle. The Stavola’s two minor children were riding with them in the car, but suffered only minor injuries.

In 2013, the state Claims Commissioner found that Connecticut could be held liable for the deaths, opening the state up to a lawsuit from the family’s estate.

The family through their attorney David Hill of Glastonbury argued that the state knew or should have known about rotting and other defects of the tree and cut the tree down.

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