Ozark Special Road District delays widening project after complaints about tree removal

OZARK, Mo. -- The Ozark Special Road District delayed construction on a road in Christian County after neighbors complained of too many large trees removed.

The commission will now do a speed study on East River Bluff Drive. The Ozark Special Road District proposed widening the road for safety reasons. To do this, crews began removing several large trees lining the road.

The tree removal stoppedue to allow the road district officials and neighbors to discuss the removal. At a Tuesday morning meeting, the road district president, Scott Bilyeu, brought up concerns that traffic will increase on East River Bluff Drive when the new Riverside Bridge opens. He also says a wreck involving a tree too close to the road could bring legal trouble.

But residents argue the road district should do a traffic study after the bridge opens to determine if improvements are needed. Many do not believe it would bring a large traffic increase. Some suggested the speed limit be lowered, and that removing trees would only increase drivers' speed and make the road more dangerous. Some also have concern that the commission has not followed state laws in the bidding process for the road project.

"Everyone that lives there is not in favor of it," said said Gary Jenks, Ozark, Mo. resident. "So to me, it's political ploy, almost like, I'm going to take my ball and go home if you don't do what I want."

The road district voted to go forward with a traffic study on East River Bluff Drive and table any road work until later.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.