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Trees along Main Street and Pelham Road in Amherst are coming down

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. was expected to begin cutting down trees deemed hazardous to overhead wires on Main Street and Pelham Road this week.

The work will include removal of both trees in the right of way, and, in consultation with and permission from residents, many that are privately owned.

“This is starting the removal of trees likely to fail,” said Tree Warden Alan Snow.

Snow has met several times with WMECO arborist Calvin Layton to examine trees in the right of way and determine those with cavities, decay and poor branch structure that should be removed as soon as possible. Snow said he gave permission for 15 town trees to come down, but not every tree that WMECO sought to remove.

The biggest changes will come in the street’s canopy. “People will notice a difference; many sugar maples, red maples at the end of their lives will be gone,” Snow said.

Many are trees that town would have to remove but doesn’t have resources to do in a timely fashion, Snow said.

The Public Shade Tree Committee has twice led walks for residents on the corridor and in advance of the work sent letters to residents reminding them that there will be changes and that they can choose not to have some trees cut.

Snow said some of the trees lost in the cutting will be replaced by the town’s two-year plan to plant 2,000 new trees.

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