This letter was sent to the Channel 7 newsroom by Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola regarding the removal of debris left behind from the Christmas Day storm.
Yard Debris Update
Dear Little Rock Citizen,
I would like to provide you with an update on what the City is doing to continue picking up yard debris from the storm on Christmas Day. As I have mentioned, the storm caused a tremendous amount of damage and FEMA has estimated that the City has 22,000 tons of storm debris to be picked up. We currently have approximately 19 crews picking up storm debris with crews working in every ward of the city and they are working 10-hour shifts Monday through Saturday. We have picked up approximately 3,000 tons to date and we continue to pick up over 100 tons each day. We are also removing obstructions/storm debris from the drainage ditches as needed.
We are also picking up regular yard waste on our normal schedule. Yard waste in containers or bags will be picked up as usual. Storm debris, such are large piles of limbs, will not be picked up by yard waste crews but by storm debris crews.
The City also opened satellite locations for storm debris drop-off at Interstate Park and Reservoir Park. Both locations will be staffed and secured at closing and have been permitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The locations will be staffed Monday - Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The storm debris is being taken to the Little Rock landfill where the material is being used to make mulch.
Public Works Operations crews remove all debris piles from both sides of the street once cleanup begins on the street. If the storm debris at an address has objects which are too heavy to be removed by the crew working on the street then an equipment crew with larger equipment will be scheduled to return to the address and remove the large objects at a later date.
We have not yet been notified of any decision regarding whether we will receive a federal disaster declaration but we expect to be notified any day now. If we get the declaration, we will use a competitive bid process to contract with private contractors who will assist with the pickup of the storm debris. If we do not get the declaration, we will continue with city crews until all of the debris is picked up. As you can imagine, the federal declaration is important to our City being able to hire private contractors and pick up the storm debris much faster.
While it is not necessary, citizens are recommended to register their pick up with 311. Citizens can call 311 or they can register their pickup online by going to http://www.littlerock.org/ and clicking on the 311 logo.
You may be interested to know that since the December 25thstorm, Public Works employees have worked almost 10,000 overtime hours. The estimated cost of the storm for Public Works Operations has now exceeded $600,000.
Public Works Operations also currently has three crews with flaggers patching potholes on city streets. Pothole repair crews have worked over 1,200 labor hours and installed over 60 tons of asphalt in potholes since December 31st, 2012. Public Works also has two employees running a vac-con truck cleaning catch basins due to flooding issues.
This is a big operation. Thank you so much for your patience.
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