This tractor was believed to be digging but was actually carrying a sand base material for the areas to be treated with asphalt and concrete. [Sturdevant photo]
FRAZIER PARK, CALIF. (Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010, 3 p.m.)–After a call was received at The Mountain Enterprise about workers "trenching near a large oak tree" this afternoon, a reporter went to the site and spoke with project foreman Dennis Stumpf.
A tractor with a bucket full of sand was being used to supply sand in preparation for blending the asphalt roadway with concrete between the sidewalk location and the tree. It may have appeared to be a trenching operation but there was no trenching taking place.
Stumpf was present on Wednesday, Oct. 25 when county officials walked the park project to make adjustments in plans where oak trees were involved. At that meeting The Mountain Enterprise asked Kern County Design Engineer Mark Evans if the walkways would be kept five feet from the oak trees. Evans said that was the plan and they would keep that distance everywhere possible.
Today, Stumpf confirmed that they are keeping the sidewalks at least five feet from the oaks. There will, however, be asphalt and some concrete between the sidewalk and the tree with asphalt surrounding trees about two feet from the trunks, similar to how the oak in the middle of Park Drive is surrounded by asphalt. Last week there was minimal grading along the north side of the oaks on Park Drive to allow for construction of the asphalt-to-concrete-to-curb treatments.
This reporter walked on the graded area with the foreman and saw no exposed tree roots. Stumpf said the material being used is a fine rocky substance which allows for roots to move and grow naturally.
While the conditions would not be described as ideal for the trees, it seems the crews are making the least amount of interference possible.
Originally, the sidewalks were planned to run along the south side of the tree trunks in the Park Drive roadway. This plan was abandoned at the August 25 meeting for a less invasive route along the other side of the oaks, leaving more distance between the oaks and the sidewalk.
[Reported by Gary Meyer]
This is part of the September 03, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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