South Marengo Avenue, known for its natural canopy of expansive ash trees, will lose up to 96 of them under a $870,000 repair project approved this week by the Board of City Directors.
The trees are being removed because their shallow roots have spread horizontally, wreaking havoc on water pipes, sidewalks, curbs and retaining walls.
In a project set to begin next July, the Public Works Department will remove about 50% of the ash trees between Cordova and Glenarm streets, repair damaged sidewalks, curbs and gutters and plant tulip trees, which are smaller and have less obtrusive roots than the ashes.
The ash trees, planted in 1959 when the street was widened, have shallow root systems that spread horizontally as far as 30 feet. About 40% of the project area has suffered damage, and in some areas portions of the sidewalk have been deformed by the roots into figurations resembling an upside-down V.