MOUNT PLEASANT — The town will relocate more than 100 trees in the path of the widening of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and construction of a new interchange where Interstate 526 connects to Hungry Neck Boulevard.
The move will cost $35,000, but the town expects to save $50,000 over what it would spend to buy the trees, said Eddie Bernard, site planner and landscape architect for the town Planning Department.
Live oak, crape myrtle and sabal palmetto trees will be moved to Memorial Waterfront Park, U.S. Highway 17 north and Watermark Boulevard. Live oaks to be moved from Hungry Neck Boulevard are 4 inches to 9 inches in diameter. Crape myrtles up to 25 feet tall will be relocated from Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. Sabal palmettos up to 22 feet tall will be relocated from both boulevards, Bernard said.
The work will begin soon and is to be completed in April. Buying a mature crape myrtle costs about $600, but moving such a tree is $300, Bernard said.
In the past five years, the town has planted more than 500 trees, mostly live oaks, in parks, along roadways and at recreation complexes.
"We love our trees and simply could not see two major construction projects destroy nearly 130 trees without attempting to save them," Mayor Harry Hallman said Thursday in a statement released by the town.
Trees replanted on U.S. 17 North will be located just north of Darrell Creek Trail. Watermark Boulevard is off Bowman Road near its intersection with Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. Memorial Waterfront Park, next to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, is expected to open in July.
A contract has been awarded for moving the live oaks and crape myrtles, and the work might start Monday. A contract will be awarded Monday for moving the palmetto trees, Bernard said. The road projects are due to begin in August.