Crews removing and replacing trees on State Street in Bristol

BRISTOL, TN/VA (WJHL) – If you have driven thru downtown Bristol in the past couple of days, you may have noticed something is missing. The trees that line State Street are disappearing.

The trees are being cut down and removed, but not to worry. They will be replaced by this spring with new ones. The 55 trees that line State St. from Martin Luther King Blvd. all the way to Volunteer Pkwy and Commonwealth Ave. on both sides of the street are being replaced in a joint project by both Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia.

“You will be able to see, especially now with the trees gone, how big of an impact that they have. If you’ve been down there and looked through, you can see that it definitely changes the whole outlook of downtown,”, Bristol, VA I.D.A. Exec. Dir. Bart Poe said.

Last year Bristol, TN did a study thru the University of Tennessee Horticulture Dept. on the trees and what kind of trees should replace them if they were removed. The current trees had been in place for 25 to 35 years.

“It’s gotten to be now there is a safety concern, if you have ever parked downtown or walked and seen the tree litter that is on the sidewalk, it’s a fruit that actually hits and then gets a little mushy. There are limbs falling out, and so one of the great things is the new trees are specifically tailored to not bear this kind of stuff,” Poe said.

The new trees will be different sizes and colors and the study also suggested trees that would not have a large root system of could cause damage to the infrastructure that was already there like electrical and water.

“One of the great things that they have done is being able to add multiple colors, multiple sizes. When it was done the first time, it was pear trees. And the pear trees all grew about the same height, same shape. The new study actually shows now that they are going to have multiple colors, multiple sizes. There are going to be skinny trees, there are going to be big, bushy trees, it’s going to be great,”, Poe added. “There will be multiple colors for season, in the spring time you’ll have purples and yellows and pinks, and then in the fall you will have the really bright reds, dark purples and yellows, and so we’re really excited about it.”

There are still a small number of trees along State St. that have not yet been taken down, but should be in the next few days. The next step will be the removal of the stumps and prep work for the new trees. The new trees should be in within the next six months.

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