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Cedar Rapids changing how it tracks debris cleanup

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -More than a month after the derecho, piles of tree debris line many city streets. The city has been tracking debris removal on a map showing where trucks have been. But some people have asked is why it looks like there is little progress from day to day.

The city right now tracks clean-up by zone. Until the entire zone is cleared, it’s not counted. That’s why progress on the map appears so slow. Now, the city will track by street miles.

It will show more progress and give people a better idea on when they can expect to see a truck. City leaders say they pick up more than 40,000 cubic yards of material every day. We caught up with crews as they worked on a neighborhood on the city’s Northwest side.

Some people are frustrated by how long it’s taking to get everything cleaned up, but that’s because city leaders say moving thousands of tons of debris is not fast work.

“We are recovering from a federally declared major disaster, and it will take a little time,” said Jen Winters, Public Works Director for the city of Cedar Rapids. “We do understand people’s frustrations, people wanting to get back to normal life as quickly as possible, and we do understand that.”

Winters understands people’s frustrations. She says crews are working hard, but they do face some hurdles.

“The dead end streets certainly present some challenges, cul de sac, especially some of the older cul de sacs that are smaller, are more difficult,” she said. “The heavily traveled roadways, we are trying to pick those up primarily on the weekends where there isn’t as much traffic.”

One concern is the start of school a bus routes on Monday. The city is working with the district to clear debris from areas where kids may be walking or getting dropped off. They are also clearing major crosswalks around each school

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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