Storm debris removal begins in Ahoskie

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 20, 2003

AHOSKIE – The clean up officially begins in Ahoskie.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), C&B Contractors will launch the labor-intense task of removing mounds of debris left in the wake of Hurricane Isabel. The job begins one day shy of the one-month anniversary of the storm that ripped through the heart of northeastern North Carolina, leaving thousands of downed trees, limbs and other debris in its wake.

In a Monday afternoon meeting, C&B formally signed the contact with Ahoskie, one awarding the Alabama-based company the job of clearing the town of storm-related debris. C&B submitted the lowest lump sum bid – $144,000. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will pay 75 percent of that cost with the State of North Carolina covering the remaining 25 percent.

According to Ahoskie Town Manager Russell Overman, accepting a lump sum bid prevented the town from having to invest in hiring a monitor or pulling one of the town employees off regular work detail in order to track each and every cubic yard of debris as it was being removed.

C&B will begin working in the areas of the town where none of the debris has been removed. Town workers spent approximately three weeks removing some of the debris, a process that ended once town officials learned that FEMA and the state would provide financial assistance for removal of storm-related items.

&uot;FEMA estimated that we picked-up roughly 5,000 cubic yards,&uot; said Overman. &uot;They said we still have roughly 20,000 cubic yards remaining to be collected.&uot;

The contract with C&B states the company has 45 days to complete two full sweeps of the town’s right-of-ways. That debris will be hauled to the town’s old wastewater treatment plant – an area used by the town to store what has already been collected. There, C&B workers will grind the debris, including what the town has previously placed in that pile, and then haul it all away.

&uot;The entire project will be done very methodically,&uot; noted Overman. &uot;To aid in the project, we have given permission to C&B officials to close off portions of our streets as they see fit. That will not only protect the safety of our citizens during the removal process, but also afford the workers some much-needed room to work.&uot;

To help speed the collection process, Overman advised all town citizens that have yet to pile debris near the curbside to please attempt to keep that debris in four-foot sections. He also urged citizens to pile the debris just behind the curb, not in the street. This will prevent the debris from washing into the town’s storm drains.