Ann Arbor officials announce plan for dealing with downed trees and branches
The storm that left Ann Arbor caked in more than 7 inches of heavy snow on Wednesday also tore the limbs off many neighborhood trees, and in some cases took trees down entirely.
Ann Arbor officials said mid-afternoon city crews still were responding to the trail of debris, as well as addressing downed power lines.
A more extensive tree debris collection plan is being developed to help address the need for disposing of broken branches, city officials said.
City officials said residents can store storm-damaged tree limbs on their lawn extension — but not in the street — for future city collection. The initial plan is to provide two citywide passes to collect tree branches from extensions, with the first pass to start the middle of next week.
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
Residents also can keep informed of the tree branch-collection plan by subscribing to updates via the city's e-notification service. Go to www.a2gov.org/subscribe, click on the red envelope icon, and select the "news" and "snow removal" topics from the subscription menu.
At least 10 trees came down overnight and city officials said those were removed by 7 a.m. Forestry crews were brought in overnight to address the volume of tree-related issues, giving priority to downed tree limbs obstructing traffic and plowing operations. Outside contractors also were deployed to assist with the city's tree-related issues.City officials said neighborhoods with old, mature trees appear to be hardest hit, especially in the Burns Park and Arbor Hills area, but downed limbs are being reported across the city.
Kerry Gray, the city's urban forestry and natural resource planner, said a crew of 13 people still was working on the tree issues as of Wednesday afternoon.
"The lack of wind has allowed the wet snow that fell last night to remain on tree branches, which is weighing them down," she said. "Most trees will be able to handle the weight of the snow, but some tree branches may fail due to the heavy weight."
Snow-covered tree branches were observed cracking off trees along neighborhood streets and falling onto sidewalks. Gray said the city hadn't received any reports of anyone being injured, though some vehicles parked on city streets were damaged by downed limbs.
Gray said on Wednesday afternoon the city was addressing the branches of city-maintained street and park trees that have fallen.
In order to clear debris and snow from the streets while temperatures stay above freezing, the city's field operations crews are anticipated to be on 24-hour schedules until the weekend.
City officials are thanking residents for their patience during clean-up efforts and apologizing in advance for any temporary noise that might arise from operating chain saws, wood chippers, and plows during the post-storm cleanup.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.