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Storm takes down trees on Leucadia’s Highway 101 corridor

Rain and high winds took down two eucalyptus trees early Dec. 31 on Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia.

Because the trees fell parallel to Coast Highway 101, no one was hurt and nearby businesses weren’t damaged, said Marlena Medford, Encinitas’ communications officer. However, as a result of the trees collapsing, the city will have to replace about 50 feet of guardrail, she said.

The trees, estimated to be around 60 years old, stood across from Corner Frame Shop Leucadia Art Gallery. They were each more than 60 feet tall and three feet in diameter, Medford said.

Medford said city staff members couldn’t recall other trees that have fallen near the railway in recent years.

To replenish the tree canopy and mitigate planned removals, the Leucadia streetscape calls for eventually planting 823 new trees, according to city plans. However, those likely won’t include eucalyptus trees.

Eucalyptus trees have a reputation for entirely collapsing or falling limbs, and so the city’s official plant list discourages them.

Some of the trees lining the rail corridor could potentially pose a risk to passing trains and cars, said Katie Whichard, NCTD’s public information officer. So, NCTD hired an arborist to survey trees near the tracks to spot those at risk of collapsing.

“We want to ensure the vegetation is healthy, and yes, reduce any potential hazards, including trees falling over,” Whichard said.

The results: contractors will prune 35 mature trees and remove one eucalyptus tree near La Costa Avenue in the next few months.

“The tree that has been identified for removal is very close to the tracks,” Whichard said.

When branches have fallen on the tracks in the past few years, NCTD’s maintenance team has quickly taken them off, preventing major incidents, Whichard said. However, tree-related threats remain, she said.

“There have been multiple large branches that have fallen in locations that have a potential to cause harm to passengers, equipment and rail personnel,” Whichard said.


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