What’s happening to the hundreds of trees removed in Oak Hill?

Austin
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)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Oak Hill “Y” looks a lot more sparse than it used to as the Texas Department of Transportation has been clearing trees in preparation for the Oak Hill Parkway project.

But what’s happening to all those trees now that they’ve been torn down?

TxDOT says they’re being recycled and turned into mulch. Some of that is being done on-site, while other trees are being taken to a wood recycler facility, where it will then be sold to stores throughout Texas.

There’s a contractor working on the clearing process and is doing so in segments, working to remove the uprooted trees within about three weeks of them being taken down.

The process of removing the trees had been paused in August, a month after it began, as local groups filed an injunction to stop their removal, saying it would negatively affect the environment. But, on Sept. 13, a federal judge ultimately denied their request to stop the removal as TxDOT worked toward its Oak Hill Parkway project.

The goal of the $674 million project is to add travel lanes to U.S. Highway 290, remove traffic signals on the main lanes and add flyovers between U.S. 290 and State Highway 71. TxDOT says it will improve safety and mobility along the six miles of U.S. 290 and 1.2 miles of SH 71. In July as the project broke ground, a TxDOT spokesman said the roadway was meant to handle 37,000 vehicles and “we hit that number a long time ago.”

The tree clearing process around U.S. 290 should be complete around the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Next up will be clearing along State Highway 71, which is slated for mid-2022. The full project is slated to be completed in 2025-2026.

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