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Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    The Maine Department of Transportation removed 37 acres of trees along Interstate 295 in Freeport last month to make the road safer by improving sight lines and bringing in sunlight to help melt ice and snow.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Crews hired by MDOT removed 37 acres of trees along Interstate 295 in Freeport last month in a bid to make the roadway safer by increasing sight lines. The town plans to build a berm between the interstate and neighboring houses to help reduce noise.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - John Patriquin/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Only a chain-link fence now separates homes in Freeport from the state’s land and busy Interstate 295.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    The state's tree-clearing project has left homes visible from the highway and exposed residents to the constant sounds of traffic.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - John Patriquin/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Kathleen Meade says highway noise in her area of Freeport is “definitely worse” since the tree-removal project. Freeport Rep. Sara Gideon called the removal “shocking,” and has arranged for an MDOT official to attend a town meeting to hear concerns.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - John Patriquin/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Charles Tompson says that before roadside trees were cleared, living along Interstate 295 in Freeport “was like living next to a river. Now, it’s definitely worse.”

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    The tree clearing along Interstate 295 was so extensive that people have speculated about ulterior motives, ranging from an unannounced widening project to selling timber to help balance the state budget.

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    Freeport residents object to I-295 tree-clearing project - Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer | of | Share this photo

    Traffic on Interstate 295 in Freeport now passes close to houses that have lost their natural buffers.

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