UPDATE: Burlington Street re-opened after tree falls

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Some residents are relieved no one was hurt after a rotten tree fell in downtown Iowa City.

Crews closed Burlington Street between Muscatine Avenue and Summit Streets around 6:45 Monday morning. Just five hours later, people could once again drive down the road.

Fortunately, the damage was minimal. Parts of the sidewalk need repairs. But the building was untouched, the telephone lines are still up, and no cars or people were hit when the tree toppled. One woman who lives around the corner said this was not what she expected to wake up to.

"Definitely a weird way to start a Monday morning but hey you know strange things happen" said Hannah Stumberg of Iowa City.

Strange indeed since there were no storms and little wind the night before this century old tree came crashing down. One woman said she was amazed when she first saw the fallen tree.

"So I was quite surprised to see an enormous part of the neighborhood not here anymore" said Trista Carlson-Kimmel of Iowa City.

The city said the trees age was a factor.

"It's possible at any point in the last 20-25 years that some of the roots were damaged and caused it distress at that point" said Juli Seydell Johnson, the director of parks and recreation in Iowa City.

"Just very fibrous and easily broken apart" said Toby Lantz of Iowa City.

While it wasn't a city tree, the city's director of parks and recreation said they're in the middle of a tree inventory of more than 50 thousand trees on city property.

"So that will help determine trees that maybe are in distress that we can see some signs early on" said Seydell Johnson.

There are a couple things property owners can do to protect their trees when doing construction projects.

"We say to stay outside of the drip line of the tree so if you can imagine where the water falls from the farthest edge of the branches, stay outside of that area so that your tree's roots have a chance to stay healthy and intact" said Seydell Johnson.

If anyone has questions about their trees and whether they could fall, just call the city's Forestry Division at 319-356-5107.

As of 11:40 a.m. the street has been re-opened.

Tree removal was completed more quickly than originally anticipated.

However, the sidewalk in front of the apartment complex at 1012 Burlington St. will be closed due to damage from the tree impact.

Crews have closed Burlington Street between Muscatine Street and Summit Street due to a large tree that is down.

They are asking people to avoid the area.

Crews say the road will likely be closed all day.

Stay with KCRG-TV9 as the story develops.