Decatur magnolia cut down for railroad intersection improvements

The Decatur magnolia, just north of the railroad tracks crossing Candler Street, was cut down last week for impending rail crossing improvements. The tree had stood for decades within a triangle created by Candler, East Trinity Place and Howard Avenue.

A longtime gathering/climbing destination, the tree wasn’t apparently as old as many thought. Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon estimates it was 50-55 years old. The city also believes the tree had been deteriorating for some time, not helped by the fact it was struck by a car a few weeks ago.

But removal was imminent anyway, along with the eventual demolition of the triangle.

The grade of the street just north of the tracks will get raised three feet — thus smoothing out that intersection — and then begin tapering gradually as it approaches the fire station. It’s believed the magnolia couldn’t have survived raising the grade of pavement.

Additional improvements include separate pedestrian lanes outside the vehicle lanes, new traffic signals with protected left-hand turns on all four approaches and an additional landscape island.

The work is expected to take 18 months. Similar improvements will occur at the College Avenue/North McDonough Street railroad crossing.