The driver and his passenger were lucky to escape serious injury when the large bow fell on top of the classic Holden, crushing its roof and smashing the windscreen.
The incident occurred in The Narrows, near the intersection of King Street, just before 8am on Thursday 23 February, when the Bellarine Highway was busy with work, school and ferry traffic.
“After the event in the Narrows, Council officers requested an Arboricultural assessment for the tree that dropped the limb onto the road,” a Council spokesperson said. “The arboriculturist recommended the removal of three limbs over the carriageway, and this work was undertaken Friday morning.
“The inspecting arborist mentioned no sign of decay or rot and that the wind twisted the branch, and it has subsequently broken.”
The branch failure prompted renewed concern about the health of the Monterey Cypress pines - the oldest of which were planted in 1918 to honour local soldiers who had fought and died in World War One.
According to the Council spokesperson, further inspection of the Avenue was booked prior to the incident and commenced from Monday 27 February. At the time of this publication going to print, Councillors were also due to meet to review the Avenue of Honour schedule of works.
"Council will learn more about the status of the trees along the Avenue of Honour once this report is completed,” she said.
“Councillors take these matters seriously and are committed to reducing the risk.”
A 2015 assessment of 112 of the cypress by Homewood Consulting found many of the trees were in poor condition and identified Seridium Canker, an incurable disease. It recommended an alternative species be chosen for re-plantings.
The Rip understands that prior to it being dissolved in late 2021, members of an Avenue of Honour community reference group also raised concerns about the safety of the trees, and Council’s decision to replant Monterey Cypress as part of an adopted Conservation Management Plan.