City Of Tulsa Nearly Done With Debris Collection From July Storm

Tuesday, September 24th 2013, 7:01 pm
By: Emory Bryan

After 50 days of work, the City of Tulsa reports almost all of the debris from a July windstorm has been hauled off.

The storm was during the night on July 23. Within a few days, the city mobilized 12 work crews to pick up what people cleaned up. That job is almost done.

The grass is still growing around piles of tree limbs, but the number of piles is shrinking. The city divided Tulsa into 185 work zones for clean up, and they're down to the last two on the list.

"We just started on the outside edges and started working in, and on this side of town, there was a pretty good bit of debris, also," said Streets Manager Tim McCorkell.

The city took on the project with the equipment and people they had available, only extending the hours they work to 10 hours a day and six days a week. That made it possible to clean up the entire city for the estimated cost of $140,000 in overtime.

The regular time for the workers and the cost of equipment was already in the budget, just normally doing other jobs.

9/23/2013 Related Story: City Of Tulsa: Debris Pick-Up From July Storm To Be Finished This Week

The city is far enough in the sweep to say they'll be done for sure by the end of the week, but possibly as soon as late Wednesday.

"I know we had some issues with people who thought we ought to go faster, but we tried to do it as cheap as possible, because those resources weren't there. We didn't have the money to go to contractors," McCorkell said.

The last two square miles are centered around Independence and Harvard. There are plenty of old trees in the area that lost limbs and the piles are typical of what was elsewhere in the city.

"We had a pretty small pile. The people across the street had a massive pile, the neighbors had a pretty big pile, as well," said Chris Howard.

Howard's limbs were picked up Tuesday morning, and he didn't mind being at the end of the line.

"I didn't much mind. The city has more important things to do and they get it done when they get it done," he said.

Of course, a lot of people wanted faster action, like what happened during the ice storm.

Outside contractors did that work with specialized equipment that moves faster, but costs much more - at least four times as much - to pick up the same amount of storm debris.