By Bobby Trammel of Dawson County
I write today to express my concern for the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike by calling your attention to the numerous large oak trees present in the section of Ga. Hwy. 183 South between Keith Evans Road and Mildred Elliott Road.
If anyone were to drive the section of this highway I am referring to, they would notice the many, many old oak trees which are present, and whose large limbs have grown in such a way as to “canopy” the highway. These old hardwoods are beautiful, but they have one thing in common; many have dead branches, which are a hazard no matter the weather.
The sheer number of branches that overhang the roadway creates a substantial risk of harm to anyone unfortunate to be driving, bicycling or walking under these trees were a tree or a branch to break and fall to the ground.
Additionally, anyone of us who is familiar with ice storms in Georgia knows that hardwoods and pines alike are subject to ice storm damage, depending on the conditions. Many of us have seen homes very nearly destroyed by tree damage. If any one of the trees I refer to were to be subjected to heavy rains (saturated soil), wind damage or ice, or if one were to simply drop a limb or topple onto the roadway, the risk of harm to humans is truly substantial and potentially fatal. This is true of pedestrians and motor vehicles alike.
Such an occurrence is aptly referred to as an “act of God,” in that no one knows if or when such an event will occur.
It seems that the DOT would bear the responsibility for maintaining safe state highways, while some county crews trim near the ground in certain areas. Irrespective of who is directly responsible, these are very dangerous trees given the correct conditions.
I am appealing and would encourage any interested citizen to also appeal to the agency that is responsible for maintaining safe highways, particularly those on Ga. 183.
Common sense suggests that taking a preventative step, or being proactive generally, would potentially be more affordable than defending a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
More importantly, a duty of care is owed to those who traverse this roadway.
Will it take an injury or death to attract sufficient attention to this matter?
I hope and pray that will not be the case.