Too bad MDOT believes trees are expendable

Loggers are cutting down trees in the median east of the Ocean Springs exit on Interstate 10.
Loggers are cutting down trees in the median east of the Ocean Springs exit on Interstate 10. ttisbell@sunherald.com

We welcome the expansion of Interstate 10 in Jackson County.

Drivers who frequent the road certainly will appreciate the extra lanes being added to seven miles of interstate in a $39.5 million project.

As part of that expansion, loggers are taking down pines and hardwoods in 1.6 miles of interstate median. The trees weren’t in the way and we wish they had left them alone.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation says removing the trees will make it easier for drivers to see ahead in case of heavy traffic. And it says it doesn’t want vehicles that leave the road to hit trees.

OK. But here’s the price. And it’s not just the cost of removing the trees.

One tree can supply enough oxygen for four people. They absorb carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Trees reduce water runoff and erosion, keeping sediment out of streams. They block the wind. They trap dust, pollen and smoke.

They provide habitat for birds and other animals.

Those tidbits were provided by North Carolina State University. NCSU also says hospital patients with rooms with a view that includes trees have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly.

Trees, for some people, are simply beautiful. Those people report feelings of serenity, peace and tranquility when among trees.

It is, to some extent, a matter of taste. But we prefer the sight of trees to that of oncoming traffic or the glare of headlights.

We hope in the future MDOT spares as many trees as possible as it meets our transportation needs.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.