By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve

BOSTON (CBS) – Would you plant trees under the power lines next to your house?

That’s how your tax dollars were being spent along a busy state road until Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve started asking questions.

You may have noticed the state is planting dozens and dozens of new trees along busy Nonantum Road on the Newton-Boston line.

It may sound like a good idea, brand new oak and hawthorn trees dotting the recently reconstructed roadway. But WBZ noticed as many as 58 of the new trees were planted directly underneath four layers of utility lines which include NStar electrical power cables.

We talked to some joggers along the newly reconstructed sidewalk.

“It is going to affect the electricity of the neighborhood,” said one woman. “It is not safe.”

WBZ found it is not even a close call. Some of the freshly planted trees actually have utility lines touching and running through the young branches.

A man on a bike put it this way.

“Ah it is not right. It is kind a dumb I think”

Another young jogger said this: “It is not smart.”

WBZ contacted the Department of Conservation and Recreation which is responsible for the tree planting project.

In a matter of hours, a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail:

“DCR planners actually went to the site, (to) work on an immediate fix. They will fix either through relocating the newly planted trees back from the utility wires or switching them out for lower-growing flowering trees.”

Now WBZ asked the state how much the tree planting project cost and how much it will now cost to fix. The state has not responded to either question.

A woman on the sidewalk said, “Before they did it they should have a plan and I am not sure they did.”

The state did tell us that 21 of the new trees are oaks, which by the way can grow 70 feet tall.


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