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The NZ Transport Agency has felled the poplars, on Ripponvale straight, as a safety measure.
The work, which began last Wednesday, is on a section of agency-owned road reserve land between the Sandflat Rd turnoff and the Sarita Orchard.
NZTA Central Otago maintenance contract manager Mark Stewart said an arborist had advised the agency of the danger.
''Recent assessment of these trees, completed by an arborist ... has deemed them dangerous due to both fire damage and extensive rot damage at the base of the trunks.
He said that the edge of the road was 24m away so, if they were to fall, they could do so on both traffic lanes, endangering people's lives.
''Poplars like these ones, while iconic, can have relatively short lifespans, due to fungal diseases and decay.''
Mr Stewart said the work was likely to be completed over the next month.