To reduce fatalities and severe injury crashes, the state Department of Transportation plans to remove trees in the median of Interstate 26 from Summerville to Interstate 95.

The DOT also plans to install cable guardrails in the center of the median after the trees have been removed from the nearly 30-mile stretch of highway in Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

The $5 million project will happen from mile marker 170, just east of Interstate 95, to mile marker 199 near Summerville.

“The general plan to improve safety on this two-county section of I-26 is to provide more recovery area for drivers who veer off the roadway,” the DOT said Friday

Currently, the distance from the travel lanes to the median tree line is 25 feet, DOT said.

The trees in the median are primarily pines with some hardwoods. The work would also prepare the stretch of median for future widening of I-26, DOT said.

I-26 in the project area has an annual average daily traffic count of 32,433 vehicles. The speed limit is 70 miles per hour. From 2007 through 2011, 1,934 crashes resulting in 44 fatalities and 709 injuries happened in the stretch of interstate. Half of the crashes were run-off-the-road accidents, the DOT said.