Motorists on Military Trail south of 45th Street got a surprise today — a very different landscape west of the trail.
Snapping and crackling sounds echoed across the 160-acre site between the trail and Haverhill Road as bulldozers started clearing more than 1,000 trees as part of construction preparations for the new Major League Baseball spring training facility.
Most of the trees were exotics such as Australian pines. Native trees such as sabal palms will be saved and relocated on the site.
From the parking lot of Palm Beach Lakes High School, tree tops to the west could be seen shaking left and right before disappearing as they fell to the ground.
The site was used as a landfill from about 1955 to 2000, and the removal of trees and debris will go on for the next five months.
A year from now the landscape will look even more different, replaced by baseball fields and a stadium that will be used in 2017 by the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
There was also land being cleared on the west side of the site just east of Haverhill Road, but the changes were more pronounced on the east side of the site near Military Trail.