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Debris Removal

Tree Debris Removal

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Tree Debris Pick-up Summary | October 22, 2020

Crews wrapped up their initial first pass on collecting tree debris from public right-of-way on October 21 and are making additional passes. While the first pass was intended to grab as many large, bulk piles as possible that were accessible to the hauling trucks and crane, these additional passes will focus on clearing smaller streets such as cul-de-sacs and dead ends, private roads, and returning to high volume debris areas to pick up additional material or anything that was missed.

There is not a set number of passes, every neighborhood is different and has varying volumes of tree debris remaining; some neighborhoods might require more than three passes, others might require less. Crews will continue to collect tree debris in the right-of-way until a reasonable cut-off date is determined based on remaining material; the cut-off date will be communicated to the public in advance so residents know when the final pass will occur.

Residents can view an updated map on the City’s website that reflects real-time location of crews instead of generic work zones, giving the public a more accurate illustration of the type of work and where the work is being performed. Crews will return to each street multiple times; however, residents can also report missed locations on the City’s website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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General Tree Debris Pick-Up

What is the process now that you've completed a first pass?

Crews wrapped up their initial first pass on collecting tree debris from public right-of-way late-October, and are making additional passes. While the first pass was intended to grab as many large, bulk piles as possible that were accessible to the hauling trucks and crane, these additional passes will focus on clearing smaller streets such as cul-de-sacs and dead ends, private roads, and returning to high volume debris areas to pick up additional material or anything that was missed. Every neighborhood is different and has varying volumes of tree debris remaining; there is not a set number of passes, we will continue collecting tree debris until we determine a reasonable cut-off date is in sight based on remaining material.  

How will I know how many passes my street will receive?

There is not a set number of passes. Some neighborhoods might require more than three passes, others might require less, depending on the volume of debris. Crews will continue to collect tree debris in the right-of-way until a reasonable cut-off date is determined, which will be communicated to the public in advance so residents know when the final pass will occur.

Why was there debris remaining after a first pass?

There are a variety of reasons why crews may not have been able to pick everything up. The contractor may have been using vehicles or equipment that were too large to fit down the street – such as cul-de-sacs or dead ends where they can’t easily turn around. There may also have been parked cars blocking debris piles. The piles may have been underneath a tree or low-hanging utility wire, and not accessible to the truck's crane. Another reason you may see debris after a first pass it because residents or contractors have placed out new debris piles for pick-up during the second pass. It’s also possible crews missed a pile, and we are working hard to verify that all piles are picked up.

Why isn't the map showing zones?

The updated online map reflects real-time location of crews instead of generic work zones, giving the public a more accurate illustration of the type of work and where the work is being performed. As remaining debris is collected, crews are going to more specific locations instead of entire work areas – either for missed debris, or to collect piles from shorter streets that requires smaller vehicles.

How long will this clean-up effort take?

This is a major disaster recovery operation, which has impacted the entire city and which will take significant time to complete. We will return to each street more than one time. The entire process will take months. There is not a set number of passes, we will continue collecting tree debris until we determine a reasonable cut-off date is in sight based on remaining material.  

I want to make sure my pile isn't missed, how can I report a concern?

Crews will return to each street multiple times; however, residents can also report missed locations on our website.

Why is the City utilizing a contractor to pick up debris?

Contracted crews are working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week - which has allowed for most City crews to resume seasonal construction and complete maintenance projects before winter. The contractor vehicles are specifically equipped to haul large volumes of tree debris, and on average, can carry the equivalent of 5 standard city truck loads. Their vehicles are carrying approximately 150 cubic yards.

Why isn't the National Guard being used for tree debris pickup?

We requested and received the support of the National Guard during the early days of our disaster recovery efforts, through Linn County Emergency Management and Iowa Homeland Security. The National Guard was deployed by Thursday, August 13 with the mission to clear critical infrastructure; they accompanied electrical utility workers with clearing debris for electrical power restoration. The equipment and vehicles used by the Guard are not conducive to long-term, large scale debris management; the City has subsequently contracted with a firm that specializes in large debris clean-up and hauling, and who are specifically equipped for this type of disaster recovery.

Are you picking up tree debris from the alley?

Crews are currently only collecting tree debris curbside. 

Is the City charging residents to pick up tree debris?

No. Tree debris removal is being done curb-side at no charge to residents.

Why are some trucks only partially filled to capacity?

Trucks are not filled to full capacity to reduce the risk of debris falling out onto the roadway. All truckloads are being tracked with debris monitors, and the contractor is paid by volume (not by truckload).

What happens if something on my property was damaged by City crews or equipment as they were removing tree debris from my yard?

Minor property damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors such as lawn or landscaping will need to be repaired by the property owner. You can report more significant damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors such as pavement or structural damage to the City’s Risk Services Division:

Phone: (319) 286-5125 | Email: J.Lynch@cedar-rapids.org | website

 
Are you picking up debris on private roads or what should those homeowners do to ensure the debris is picked up?

Yes, but we need approval through the Homeowners Association to drive equipment onto private roads. Please email the name and contact information for the neighborhood’s HOA representative to developmentservices@cedar-rapids.org so we can facilitate this.

How is debris at mobile home parks getting picked up?

Properties owned and maintained by a commercial enterprise, such as mobile home parks, are typically insured for disaster-related costs. Debris pick-up will be undertaken by the property manager, not the City.

Can the City save the wood for refurnishing purposes, or allow residents to enter drop-off sites and take wood for personal use?

Residents can save wood for personal use such as refurnishing, firewood, etc., but will need to collect any wood they want to save from their property or their neighbor’s property, prior to it being picked up by crews. Once the wood is picked up, it will go to a drop-off site for mulching as well as appropriate FEMA documentation, and is not available for residents at this time. For safety reasons, we cannot allow residents onto drop-off sites while work is underway where heavy machinery is operated and there are significant volumes of large truck traffic and debris piles.

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