Oncor Pauses Tree Removal Along Tollway

Following an emergency meeting this week with Dallas council member Jennifer Gates, city of Dallas officials, and the NTTA, Oncor released a statement that they would pause a project that would have involved removing dozens of mature trees behind the Melshire Estates.

“Oncor is pausing its project along its transmission right-of-way in North Dallas to give the NTTA the opportunity to study how they would provide better noise abatement stemming from the removal of the trees, as well as to give NTTA more time to review Oncor’s operational plans,” Grant Cruise, the communications manager for Oncor, said in a statement to Preston Hollow People.

Cruise said that Oncor officials plan to meet with stakeholders again this Monday to talk more about collective plans for the area.

“Only a small handful of trees were removed prior to the rain delay last week,” he said.

Council member Gates released the following statement after the meeting:

“During this interim period, Oncor will share project plans with NTTA, allowing them time to review and respond. In addition, Oncor will look at what is needed for maintenance and what potential mitigation plans might be. Taking this pause ensures stakeholders are operating from a place of transparency and provides an opportunity for continued neighborhood involvement by having [Richard] Brown take part in the process.”

Oncor began removing trees late October on its right-of-way adjacent to the Dallas North Tollway near Quincy Lane to clear the way for its transmission improvement project.

The trees, Cruise said, were planted on Oncor’s right-of-way decades ago without permission.

In a public statement, Oncor said their property is used to deliver electric service to the area.

“We have maintained the transmission equipment along the Dallas North Tollway for more than 50 years. However, as our city continues to grow and improve, it is Oncor’s responsibility and commitment to ensure the equipment, necessary to deliver safe and reliable service, is also improved and capable of meeting the growing needs of the communities we serve,” the statement said.

Cruise said Oncor has plans to clear the right of way through Plano.

The removal of the trees and other vegetation was necessary to allow large equipment in the area to safely remove the existing towers and set the new monopoles, Cruise said.

During the pause, Oncor will continue to cut a 50-foot perimeter around the lattice towers, which is necessary for the safe removal of those six towers and the installation of the monopoles. As well, Oncor will also trim some of the taller trees.

Richard Brown, a Melshire Estates resident who worked decades ago with the city and NTTA to build a wall between the tollway and his surrounding neighborhood, had previously called Oncor’s actions a “massacre of trees and their history.”

“For those who have lived in Melshire Estates for many years, we remember life before the wall was built and the trees planted along the Dallas North Tollway (DNT). In fact, some of us remember when there was no toll road at all,” he said prior to the emergency meeting.

Brown and his wife, Bonnie, live on Quincy Lane.

Following the meeting earlier this week with stakeholders, he said he was pleased Oncor agreed to pause the project.

“This is a significant “win” for the moment,” Brown said. “This will give us time to adequately meet with the stakeholders and ferret out the best plan moving forward. Oncor asked that we do not interfere with their contractors as they wrap up the lattice tower cutting, and I believe we should honor that request. Please encourage anyone you see to do the same.”

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