The MBTA has a bit of a tree problem.
In the last year, T service has been interrupted because a tree limb has fallen into the right of way 21 times. Eighteen of the branches, and with them delays, have fallen on the Green Line's D Branch.
Beginning this week, a certified arborist hired by the T will walk the D Branch and assess which trees or limbs could be most vulnerable to fall onto the tracks, T Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gonneville said Monday. The arborist and survey team will pay particular attention to trees that are dead or damaged, Gonneville said.
Once the T identifies which trees pose a risk to Green Line service, the agency plans to approach homeowners to ask permission to get a closer look and, if necessary, remove the tree or limb.
Gonneville said the T hopes to have the work done by winter, when wet snowfall could burden branches to the point of breaking.
But the T administrator said the transit agency has no intention to "clear cut trees" along its ground-level rail lines.
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"That is something of an area of concern that has certainly come back to us in operations," Gonneville said. "As a matter of fact, actually, good healthy trees actually protect our infrastructure from the changing climates and the fluctuations that we actually would see with temperature."