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BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — The town of Bristol will soon remove dozens of trees in an effort to stop the spread of an invasive insect species.

Town officials said 66 trees in the area of Hope Street, Ferry Road and Michael Drive have been weakened by emerald ash borers, posing a public safety risk. The condition of these trees ranges from “slight threat” to “severe threat.”

The town is working with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), Rhode Island Energy and a professional tree service to remove the infested trees. Once all of the trees are collected by RIDOT maintenance crews, they will be replaced to reverse the environmental damage caused, according to town officials.

The goal is to complete the project ahead of Bristol’s Fourth of July festivities.

Officials warned the work may affect travel in those neighborhoods and asked drivers to use caution.

As larvae, emerald ash borers feed on tree bark, which prevents moisture and nutrients from reaching the tree, causing them to wither and die.

The town said treatment to prevent the larvae from infesting the trees was unsuccessful.

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