First tree move completed

MOUNT DESERT — The first of seven massive trees destined for a multi-million dollar estate here moved across area roads smoothly early Tuesday.

The 40-foot spruce, wrapped in burlap and sitting on its side, left Atlantic Landscaping in north Ellsworth around 6 a.m. It got as far as the Island Explorer hub on Route 3 in Trenton by 7:30 a.m. and proceeded through Somesville around 8:15 a.m.

The convoy of six vehicles, including state police and Hancock County Sheriff’s Department cruisers at the front and rear, pulled over when space permitted to allow backed-up traffic to pass. A wide steel beam sticking out five feet on either side of the load made maneuvering tricky. Also, the root ball of the tree had to be positioned to avoid hitting overhanging traffic lights.

Weather permitting, one tree a day was to be moved through next week.

According to Lt. Tim Cote, the sheriff’s department expects any disruption to traffic to be minimal. Referring to an incident several years ago when Route 3 traffic was snarled for hours as Atlantic Landscaping moved a gigantic apple tree to the Charles Butt estate in Northeast Harbor, Cote said, “We’re making every effort to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Moving the trees at night is not an option, officials have said. State law requires oversize loads to travel in daylight. No trees are expected to be moved on weekends.

The trees reportedly are destined to be installed on the grounds of an 18,000-square-foot, multi-million dollar home being constructed for billionaire Steven Rales on the shores of Somes Sound in Northeast Harbor.

For updates, call the Hancock County Regional Communications Center at 667-7576.

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