For safety, giant tree trimmed on Chambers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 7, 2002

City landscape architect Jeff Richardson speaks Monday while Entergy employee Tim Wright cuts down a large dead limb from a water oak tree on Chambers Street.(The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[05/07/02]The ground shook when the base of the limb hit the surface of Chambers Street, indicating just how much damage it could have done.

The limb had stretched all the way across the 1400 block of one of Vicksburg’s premier residential streets, but age and decay or disease allowed it to break away from a century-old water oak in front of the Harding-Johnston home.

Jeff Richardson, head of the City of Vicksburg Landscape Department, said the limb posed a danger to motorists who travel Chambers Street and had to come down.

“A lady asked me to come look at a sidewalk,” Richardson said, gesturing east on Chambers. But while there Monday, he spotted the broken limb and quickly had the street blocked.

Richardson said he called Entergy because the far end of the limb threatened electrical lines on the north side of the street, making its removal the utility’s responsibility.

The limb was nearly 50 feet long and Richardson feared a recurrence of an incident that happened on Chambers Street in the 1930s. Preston Wailes was driving along the street when a limb fell from a tree in the same block, struck his car and killed him.

Also in the same block, Richardson removed a tree about five years ago over objections of at least one resident of the scenic area. At the time, Richardson ordered the tree removed because it had a hollow middle and was in danger of falling.

Vicksburg has ongoing contracts with tree companies to mark and remove trees that pose a danger. They are replaced with new plantings.

Under city board instructions, property owners are notified in advance of trees targeted for removal.