SUMMERVILLE - Flowertown in the Pines says to cut the Interstate 26 trees. Dorchester County says don't.

County Council voted unanimously Tuesday against clear-cutting the trees in the median for 23 of the 30 miles of interstate between Summerville and Interstate 95. Seven miles of median with wetlands and trees in scattered locations would not be affected.

The county suggested safety measures in trouble spots and better law enforcement of speeders.

The council's opposition joined the sentiments of most people who spoke at a public hearing on the proposed cutting earlier Tuesday.

The unusually long run of trees is considered by many to be a signature of the Lowcountry, and keeping the trees has wide popular support. But in December, a committee of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments voted 4-2 to recommend approval of the $5 million project, in response to the number of wrecks and fatal wrecks on the stretch.

Earlier this month, Summerville Town Council supported the cutting in a split vote.

County Councilman David Chinnis said trees close to the roadway on some stretches should be cut, but not across the mileage as a whole.

"My heart goes out to the people and the families (who have lost lives in wrecks on the stretch)," he said before the meeting, but few wrecks occur compared with the number of cars on the road, most wrecks occurred because of inattention, driving while impaired or speeding and cutting the trees would expose oncoming traffic to headlight-blinding.

Other council members agreed. Councilman Larry Hargett said other dangerous highway stretches aren't all treed.

The opposition will be voiced in a letter to the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments. The governments council will vote on the proposal in February.

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