Remember the winter of 2015? If the 100-plus inches of snow didn't depress you, there was the chopping down of more than a hundred trees around Forest Hills for the Casey Arborway project.
Now for the good news, nature lovers: The first trees of the mammoth project will soon be planted.
The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that week after next contractors plan to start planting trees in the area where the permanent median of the Arborway will be.
It was just one line in MassDOT's latest "Three-week Look-ahead," but it should bring a smile to everyone who hated seeing those 160 trees cut down.
Among the things planners haven't explained very well is that by project's end, there will be about 400 more trees than before the crews started cutting them down during that historic winter of 2015.
As you can see from this look at what the final result of the Casey Arborway should be, lots and lots of trees are being promised.
There are detailed plans for which exact trees will go where in the final set-up. Let's take a close look at one representative section, Toole Square. Trees aren't being replanted here yet but it's a good example of the kind of greenery residents can expect scattered around the final product.
This was the open space at the foot of the Arborteum and South Street, right by what was until recently the Casey off-ramp.
When Jamaica Plain News last wrote about the Casey Arborway trees back in March 2015, nine trees had been cut down in this section, among them a 27-inch diameter Norway maple. You can see eight of those in this plan. A total of eight existing trees are being kept.
But by project's end, the area would again be leafy, with more trees than before:
It should be noted that the above rendering doesn't exactly reflect the detailed tree plan. In the rendering, trees in green are new plantings and empty circles are existing trees. You can see that there are two trees in the lower left corner that the rendering has as being saved that the detailed plans actually show to have been slated for removal. They are both gone.
A total of 560 trees are expected for the area when the project is done. Construction was expected to end by Sept. 30, 2016, but contractors blame weather and jet fan procurement problems with pushing that date to fall 2017. It won't be until spring 2018 until final landscaping is done, latest estimates predict.
Many or most of the trees that were cut down were planted in the 1980s, the last time there was major construction around Forest Hills Station.
Here are some file photos of the destruction back in March 2015:
Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Credit: Chris Helms