BrightView Cares for, Replants Century-Old Saguaros in Arizona
Industry leading landscape and snow services company salvaged plants during widening along Pima Freeway
Improvements to Arizona's Pima Freeway put thousands of trees and cactus, including some older than the state itself, in jeopardy. Loop 101, which runs along Scottsdale's eastern border, has been widened as part of the state’s Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) $74 million improvement project for 11 miles of roadway.
Along the project’s path, between Shea Boulevard and the Red Mountain Freeway, were thousands of cactuses and trees, including mature saguaros believed to be older than the state itself.
BrightView was tasked with helping to save these extraordinary cacti, the largest and perhaps most iconic cactus species in the desert Southwest. BrightView salvaged almost 400 saguaros, along with golden barrel cacti, ocotillos, and ironwood trees. The plants were stored and cared for them in two separate nurseries for two years while the road improvements were underway.
Now, with the Pima Freeway project nearing completion, BrightView has been replanting the 1,000 saved plants.
“This restoration work is challenging, but also very rewarding because many of the saguaros are more than 100 years old and it’s great to have them in place as an iconic symbol of Arizona,” said ADOT Landscape Construction Supervisor Richard Adamson.
BrightView also planted 200 new saguaros, more than 1,000 new trees, more than 7,500 new shrubs and nearly 300 new ocotillos to go along with 166 miles of wire, and more than 800,000 square yards of granite mulch.
“I was grateful to be a part of such a unique and challenging project,” said Bret Beitz, Senior Project Manager with BrightView Landscape Development. “The opportunity to save and replant over 1,000 trees and cacti doesn’t happen often in our industry. Chances are that anyone who lives in the Phoenix area had the opportunity to see all of our salvaged trees and saguaros standing shoulder-to-shoulder as they drove down the Loop 101 Freeway.”
The majority of the additional plants added along the freeway are a drought-tolerant, desert species, including Agave americanas (American aloe), Justicia californicas (hummingbird bushes), and Baileya multiradiatas (desert marigolds).
“Our guys are the best in the industry at salvaging the saguaro cactus,” Beitz said. “It’s amazing to watch how efficient and professional they are at moving these giant, awkward living things. They truly deserve a lot of credit for such a successful and important project for both ADOT and the Phoenix BrightView team.”
I was grateful to be a part of such a unique and challenging project. The opportunity to save and replant over 1,000 trees and cactuses doesn’t happen often in our industry.
- Bret Beitz, BrightView Senior Project Manager
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