US 45 Improvement Project - Tree Removal in Clear Zone

​Foliage and trees are a staple of many roadways in Wisconsin. WisDOT typically removes trees in the 18' "clear zone", however, US 45 Project staff received numerous public comments and letters from residents and public officials asking to keep as many trees as possible along this scenic highway route.

The breakdown is as follows for clear zone trees (all are within state right of way):

  • 6 trees fall 10-12’ from the edge line
  • 4 trees fall 12-14’ from the edge line
  • 10 trees fall 14-16’ from the edge line
  • 10 trees fall 16-18’ from the edge line

The preferred alternative from the US 45 Project design team was to remove all trees located in the 18’ clear zone, per federal standards. WisDOT worked with an arborist to determine the overall health of the trees proposed to be removed based solely on their location in the clear zone. The arborist provided the following guidance:

  • Recommended 8 trees be removed due to poor health
  • Undecided on health of 5 trees 

WisDOT will remove all of the arborist recommended and undecided trees (12) plus an additional seven trees that are located within 15.5’ of the clear zone for the following reasons: clear zone, location in a 55 MPH speed zone, and a poor specimen. 

There is one tree that is 11.5' from the edge of the travel way that was labeled as a “great specimen.” That tree will be left in place. WisDOT will continue to monitor the highway and trees for safety and crash data.

Should any of the trees pose a safety concern in the future, they may be removed from the clear zone. 

*The number of the tree on the arborist report corresponds to the number on the location map