Road Patrol: Morgantown closes section of road used by thousands of people to cut down dangerous tree

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown Public Works has announced plans to shut down a section of Willowdale Rd., a road used by roughly 15,000 people daily, in order to cut down a large tree that’s an impending danger to the public.

The closure is between Afton St. and Grove St.

Map of the closure provided by the city

The shutdown is slated to last from Wednesday, Feb 19 – Friday, Feb. 21. This is according to Alexandra Stockdale, the director of Public Works, who said her department has been planning on removing the tree for months. Initially, the plan was to wait until March, when West Virginia University was on spring break, however, a break in the weather meant they could do the job sooner.

Stockdale said although the tree had yet to harm anyone, it was safer to remove it now rather than later.

“The tree leans over Willowdale and has been dead for a long time and started to drop its largest branches, which is a sign that it’s going to keep dropping its branches,” Stockdale said. “It could hit a house, another tree or a vehicle traveling by.”

The Public Works crew will work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which are their standard operational hours, Stockdale said. They work those hours in order to set up before the morning traffic starts and before the evening traffic begins between 4 and 5 p.m.

Regardless, Stockdale said she anticipated the closure would be an inconvenience since thousands of people use the road every day for many different reasons.

“Willowdale is used by heavy vehicular traffic and also by heavy machinery,” Stockdale said. “So we’re recommending that all truck traffic reroute and stay on 705 and then we’re recommending that all local vehicular traffic continue like the way you’re going on Willowdale we’ll detour you.”

Stockdale said she understood that the closure is problematic for some, but urged the public to be understanding.

“I thank everybody for the patients and for their help,” Stockdale said. “We really need to take this tree out, it’s a safety concern and so I hope everybody is understanding and is nice to our flaggers and workers out there.”

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