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Continuing Storm Debris Removal Leaving Some City Work Neglected

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The City of Tulsa continues work on cleaning up storm damage, but that's leaving some other work undone. The City of Tulsa continues work on cleaning up storm damage, but that's leaving some other work undone.
"We're trying to handle this with internal crews, with no contractors and also during regular working hours, so there's very little overtime," said Roy Teeters, of the city Streets Department. "We're trying to handle this with internal crews, with no contractors and also during regular working hours, so there's very little overtime," said Roy Teeters, of the city Streets Department.
The only extra cost to the city so far is at the city's greenwaste site, which is taking in about 600 loads of limbs each day. The only extra cost to the city so far is at the city's greenwaste site, which is taking in about 600 loads of limbs each day.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

PSO announced new figures Wednesday about last week's power outage. At the peak of the outage, just a few hours after the storm, 96,000 homes in the Tulsa area were without power.

The utility company reports 92,000 had power restored within three days, and the last 4,000 customers were all restored on the fourth day.

The City of Tulsa continues work on cleaning up storm damage, but that's leaving some other work undone. The limbs are the priority right now, and that's pushed potholes down lower on the list.

City maintenance workers have a big job ahead of them picking up limbs that fell during last week's storm.

With more than 120 people doing that, it means other jobs are left undone, all under the umbrella of "field customer services."

The city predicts it's going to take at least a month to drive every street and haul off the debris, and they're trying to do it within the existing city budget.

"We're trying to handle this with internal crews, with no contractors and also during regular working hours, so there's very little overtime," said Roy Teeters, of the city Streets Department.

7/30/2013 Related Story: City Crews Continue Picking Up Tulsa Storm Debris

The real cost is that fewer repairs are made by the streets and sewer crews who were mobilized after the storm.

Once the disaster response is done, the city workers will get back to doing what they normally do: fix potholes or clean out storm drains and creeks.

Crow Creek has entire trees down that will have to be pulled out before they wash down to a bridge and block the flow of water. About half of the people picking up limbs on the curb usually do that kind of work, which keeps the creeks flowing and helps prevent flooding.

"When we have them do a disaster response like this, what it does, it takes them away from their regular work, so our street repair crews that would normally be out patching streets and fixing potholes are now not able to do that," Teeters said.

The only extra cost to the city so far is at the city's greenwaste site, which is taking in about 600 loads of limbs each day. City employees are staying late to keep up with mulching everything that's been dropped off.

The city is still responding to the worst potholes, those that might damage a car, and they encourage people to call in if they spot one, or a blocked storm drain or any other problem.

They're still trying to keep a list of what needs to be done, even if it takes a while to get to it.

See the city's debris removal map for Wednesday

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