Multi-Million Dollar Storm Cleanup In Augusta Gets Rolling - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Multi-Million Dollar Storm Cleanup In Augusta Gets Rolling

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Augusta, GA -

Tons of limbs come rolling in, as Augusta steps up its battle with all the debris from the ice storm.

"The operation...they were able to get rolling in a short period of time. The amount of trucks they got and the volume they're already moving...it's just amazing," says Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell. 

The city's cleanup up effort is now staging at the Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds.

The loads are monitored and documented so the city can verify each load to be reimbursed by FEMA.
 Then, all the limbs and branches are unloaded into a new pile in the south end of the fairgrounds parking lot. And, it's back out on the road again for the trucks and crews.

One truck was picking up debris on Pine Needle Road. It is 1 of 27 trucks currently out on the streets. But, the number of trucks will be growing.

Each truck is followed by a city monitor taking pictures of the debris and noting where it came from.

Residents on Pine Needle Road didn't care about those details. They were just happy to see their debris get picked up.

"I'm so excited. I was worried it was going to be here til Masters. We rent our house, so I was very concerned but I'm very happy," said Robin Downing.

Money is buying the happiness. Monday, Augusta Commissioners voted to spend up to $8 million with AshBritt Environmental to do the cleanup.

But, an e-mail that went to city officials and the media supposedly from the company doing Columbia County's cleanup says the city is paying too much per load.

It's a charge Augusta city leaders dismiss. "We're not overpaying our contractor, everything is comparable. Our monitor looked at it and he didn't see anything out of the ordinary either," says Cassell.

Another criticism of hiring an outside company is, it's leaving out local contractors.

Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a workshop for local contractors at Julian Smith Casino. Contractors will need to bring copy of insurance, Workers Compensation forms and a W-9.

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