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Debris Pickup Nearly Complete, May Not Happen Again

DebrisPublic and private crews are almost finished collecting the debris from the January ice storm. The task has city officials questioning if they’ll continue to have curbside collection of severe storm debris in the future.

The twenty debris crews are now collecting limbs from private roads and responding to calls about streets they missed during the last four months of pickup.

Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says the city is not required to offer special curbside collection after a major weather event,  and the government may not step in after the next severe storm.

“I think we’ll look much stronger at doing it in the future,” he says. “One of the reasons it took so long is because the city was doing it and it encouraged people not to dump their debris. I’m not sure we’ll ever do it again.”

Poynter says no decisions about future pickup have been made;  it would likely depend on the severity of the storm.

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Councilman Johnson Says Debris Pickup Mismanaged

Councilman JohnsonLouisville Public Works officials hope to have all of the debris from January’s ice storm picked up next week.

Public Works Director Ted Pullen originally planned to have the debris cleared by Derby, but the job was too big to meet that goal, even with private contractors helping city crews.

debris-004Metro Councilman Dan Johnson says the entire pickup effort has been mismanaged and his south Louisville district has been neglected by the crews.

“Every week I have e-mailed the mayor saying, ‘Please get these streets done,'” says Johnson. “Ted Pullen e-mailed me back, ‘We’ve got a contractor coming to get it done right now. He’ll be in that neighborhood.’ Well there’s not been one and I want one.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says more than 80 percent of Johnson’s district has been cleared and all debris should be cleared by next week.

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Debris Pickup Not Likely to Be Complete By Derby

Debris pickup from January’s ice storm will not likely be complete this week.

The city has about 200 public and private workers collecting debris. Officials planned to have all of the debris cleared by Derby, but mayor’s spokesperson Kerri Richardson says that’s unlikely.

“We’re concerned about some of the rain maybe hindering that later this week. We hope that won’t slow us up too much. It’s going to be hard to put an exact date on it but we’re going to make a really good run at getting everything done this weekend,” she says.

Richardson says the job is about 84% complete. That’s not counting private roads, which will be cleared once the rest of the debris is collected.

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Debris Situation More Severe Than Expected

January’s ice storm left more debris on the ground than Metro Government officials had previously estimated.

Mayor’s spokesperson Kerri Richardson says more crews may be needed to pick up all of the fallen limbs and trees.

“Compared to the windstorm last fall, over 90 days we picked up about 39 hundred truckloads of materials,” she says. “We are not 90 days out from the winter ice storm and already we’ve picked up ten thousand truckloads.”

There are currently 24 city crews and additional private contractors collecting debris. Richardson says the city is prepared to expand the crews to make sure all of the debris is collected by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the city’s three debris drop-off sites will be open this Saturday but closed for Easter Sunday.

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Pullen Says Debris Pickup Is On Schedule

Louisville Metro Director of Public Works Ted Pullen says debris pickup from the January ice storm should be complete by the end of next month.

Debris collection began in February with crews following the reverse order of last year’s windstorm cleanup. Aside from one deviation, Pullen says the crews have been following that pattern.

Twenty four city crews are now on the job, and workers have been spread out to cover multiple areas simultaneously. There will soon be additional crews of private contractors collecting debris in unincorporated areas.

Pullen says everything should be picked up by late April, with public routes being cleared first.

“The last things that’ll be done are the private roads because for us to do that we have to get waivers from either the condo associations or, if it’s a group of people, from all the people living on that road before we can go on that road,” he says.

Most of the costs of the debris pickup will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Councilman Says Debris Clean-Up Taking Too Long

Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson says it’s taking too long for Public Works crews to clean up debris from the September windstorm. The councilman wants the city to hire contractors to speed up the process, despite a tight city budget.

Once all the trees that were blocking roads were cleaned up, the Public Works Department set-up a city-wide grid for debris clean-up. Mayor’s Office spokesperson Kerri Richardson says officials were clear that it wouldn’t be done quickly.

“We’ve said since we started that storm debris collection, it’s going to take some time,” says Richardson.

The Mayor actually said the cleanup would take several months.

“I know that!” says Johnson, “and I don’t care! It’s taking entirely too long, this stuff here is turning brown, it’s probably starting to draw rats and things like that. I would like to have it picked up now.”

Johnson plans to introduce an emergency ordinance to Metro Council at its October 23rd meeting to make funds available to hire contractors to help city workers with the clean-up. Richardson says the mayor doesn’t consider that an option, given the tight city budget.