First tree transplanted in Northpark Drive Expansion Project

First Tree Transplanted in Northpark Expansion Project

October 12, 2023 – This morning, contractors transplanted the first tree in the Northpark Drive expansion project. The Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority has budgeted $700,000 for the transplantation project in response to public concerns about saving as many trees as possible.

Plan for Tree Transplantation

Trees from the Northpark entry areas at US59 will be transplanted to the perimeters to make room for stormwater retention basins totaling 22 acre feet. Additional trees in the way of utility work farther east on Northpark will also be transplanted to the entries.

Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin attended the press event this morning and emphasized that the transplantation effort was the fulfillment of a commitment made to the public. Here is a summary of the final transplantation plans.

Why Northpark Must Be Widened

The widening of Northpark, including a bridge over the UnionPacific Railroad tracks, will create an all-weather evacuation route for more than 70,000 people in case of a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey. Engineers need the retention-basin capacity to control runoff from the additional lanes of traffic near the entry at US59.

The ponds will do double duty as decorative lakes that welcome residents and visitors in normal times. And the transplanted trees will form a ring of green behind the entry ponds.

How They Will Transplant Giant Trees Weighing Tons

It’s not everyday that you get to see such massive machinery at work. The tree moved this morning was estimated at 15-20 feet tall. With its root ball, the tree weighed thousands of pounds.

The truck used for moving the trees has massive blades that circle a tree and scoop it out of the ground. It then moves the tree and its intact root ball to a new location where a matching hole has been pre-scooped. The pictures below show the tree being lowered into the hole, and then the blades being lifted out and retracted.

Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin (left) supervises transplantation of first tree as it moves toward its new home.
Truck moves into position near the pre-dug hole adjacent to Northpark Drive (upper left).
Truck lowers stabilizing legs and begins to lower tree into hole.
Almost there!
Tree nestles into place.
Driver begins to retract blades.
Driver lifts blades and retracts them so they no longer encircle tree.
Driver begins closing the blade assembly so he can move away and begin work on the next tree.
Looking SW across Northpark. All of the trees you see in the old entry will be transplanted in a similar fashion.
Looking NE toward utility work now under way along the north side of Northpark. Trees from both sides of road will eventually be moved to make way for upgraded utilities, a bridge, and improved drainage.

Your kids or grandkids may find this process fascinating. So please share this post with them.

Change is always difficult. But it’s important to remember that human lives will someday depend on this project and that efforts are being made to protect the lives of as many trees as possible.

For More Information

For previous posts about Northpark construction, see the following:

Also visit the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ 10 Project pages at

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/12/23

2235 Days since Hurricane Harvey