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Road project giving Pendleton new look

Stumps are all that remain of several large trees near Grandstaff Memorial Library. The trees were cut down as part of the Pendleton Avenue road widening project. By Scott Hansen/JBLM PAO

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From the size of the stumps still in the ground, the large oak trees that came down near Grandstaff Library on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Lewis Main two weeks ago were very old. But as Joint Base Lewis-McChord expands its roads to meet the needs of the growing installation, the trees had to come down one way or another.

"Anytime you disturb under the drip line (the area under the branches of the tree), you are disturbing the roots of the tree, if you disturb (those) they tend to fall over," Gary Stedman, Special Projects Planner at Directorate of Public Works Master Planning, said.

Trees of this size have been coming down near many recent road projects, including along Liggett Avenue last year, and now the same thing is happening along Pendleton Avenue as construction moves to the Town Center area on Lewis Main. The trees that come down are then sold as firewood, both on and off base. But while trees may be coming down on the installation, trees are being planted in the training areas every year through reforestation programs.

"We have a reforestation programmer, each year (we) assess areas ... and decide how many trees to plant," Aaron Fox, Forestry timber sales program manager, said. "We don't do a lot of clear cuts anymore, it's usually under 100,000 trees that are planted. It's done annually; we reforest every early spring."

The construction crews along Pendleton Avenue are currently working to move and install utilities to what will eventually be the side of the expanded road. While roads can be built over existing utilities, it is necessary to have access to many, including water and sewage. The utilities are currently being moved before road crews expand the avenue into a boulevard with two lanes in each direction and add bike and pedestrian lanes.

There will also be planters along the road with trees that will start small but eventually grow to provide shade in the area.

Construction continues around the Banana Belt on 2nd Division and 3rd Division Drives. 2nd Division Drive has reopened to traffic and 3rd Division Drive is completely closed. Curbing and landscaping continues along the south side of Pendleton near where new barriers are being built. A detour is in place along 4th Division Drive to Collier Avenue.

Other closures include 11th Street at the Town Center housing area.

12th Street is open as a detour to access the homes and housing offices. During the coming months drivers along Pendleton should expect more closures and detours. There will be signs to alert drivers to the closures and the project website is updated frequently.

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