Tree clearing on Oak Hill Parkway project halted after groups raise environmental concerns

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Oak Hill Parkway project is meant to ease traffic congestion at the Oak Hill “Y” intersection, but just one month after construction started, tree clearing was put on hold.

Environmental groups and some residents living near the project aren’t happy with the work.

Groups like Save Barton Creek Association and the Oak Hill Neighbors filed an injunction to stop construction on environmental grounds. They are worried that the project will have a negative impact on the environment since many trees will have to be cut down for the work to continue.

Attorney Bill Gammon, who is working to save the trees, said July 30 a federal judge told the Texas Department of Transportation to stop clearing the trees after some were cut down that weren’t supposed to be.

  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)
  • TxDOT crews have stopped work on the Oak Hill Parkway Project as an injunction was filed by groups raising environmental concerns. (KXAN photo/Nabil Remadna)

“We asked Federal Judge Pitman if he could stop them (TxDOT) from destroying the trees,” Gammon said. “And they basically responded with, ‘Well we are not really knocking down any trees of any size, we are basically doing a little bit of clearing, nothing over eight inches.’ Well I had photos of trees of eight inches (in diameter).”

KXAN reached out to TxDOT for comment and was told they do not comment on pending litigation. TxDOT said it voluntarily halted clearing the trees until a hearing on Sept. 2.

Other construction on the project will continue. TxDot says they were installing a rock filter dam for erosion as one of the projects that has continued.

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