Old tree stuffed with dynamite for removal

ZIGZAG, Oregon - What do you do with a dangerous tree along the side of a highway?

Blow it up, of course!

That's what happened Thursday morning as Oregon Department of Transportation crews stuck dynamite in an old cedar tree along Highway 26 near Zigzag.

The tree had to be destroyed by explosives because it was rotten from the inside out - it grew out of another tree that fell in a windstorm. Officials said the tree, at 100 feet tall, was in danger of falling.

"Because of the uncertainty of when it's going to come down, we want to control when it does fall and bring it down in a safe manner," said Kimberly Dinwiddie, an ODOT spokeswoman.

Officials couldn't predict which way the tree would fall, so explosives allowed them to be far away when it did come down.

While it's the first time an ODOT crew blew up a tree this close to a busy highway, it isn't the first time ODOT has used dynamite. In 1970, a crew blew up a dead beached whale on the coast, causing blubber to spew everywhere.

"The exploding whale was not ODOT's finest moment. It's a lesson that we learned and we've taken precautions," Dinwiddie said.

In the end, everything went off without a hitch and traffic is back to normal in Zigzag.