As Tree Crews Leave Some Neighborhoods In Richmond County, Other - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

As Tree Crews Leave Some Neighborhoods In Richmond County, Others Wait For Them To Arrive

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Augusta, GA - It's the beginning of the end of the storm cleanup in Richmond County.

 On Oleander Drive in Augusta, tree crews are on the final pass, and neighbors here are happy to say goodbye. “Yeah, I think so, and I think most of the people will be, too. They'll be glad to see it over,” says Charles Symond, “glad to see them go.”

Kay Wright was driving on Oleander Drive, but had to park to let the big truck get by. She says, on her court, there's been no sign of a tree crew. “Not once on our court and I read in the paper they are finishing,” she said.

“So, you’re worried,” we asked Wright. "I'm worried,” she said.

“It's a big project, it covers thousands of miles of roadway in the city. It's unprecedented, we've never dealt with anything like this,” says Interim Deputy City Administrator Steve Cassell.

But, many residents continue to deal with their storm debris. Piles remain stacked in the area near Cross Creek High School, in south Augusta.

“Driving through Old Waynesboro Road, and Brown Road, and McDade Road...there's still a lot of debris,” says Pat Rios. And, that includes in front of her home. The debris pile has been since the 16th of February. “As you can see, we're still waiting patiently,” she said.

The crews are pushing for completion, and that target date is March 31st.

“That's our goal for substantial completion," said Cassell. "Will that be every pile?" we asked. "Probably not, be but we feel we'll hit the vast majority of it,” said Cassell.

“I'm afraid we're going to fall through the cracks, who do I call,” said Wright.

Cassell says the contractors have performance bonds and will stay on the job until the cleanup is completed, even if it runs pass March 31st. But, time is money for the city, with Augusta Commissioners agreeing to take part in a pilot FEMA program that increases the percentage amount for FEMA reimbursement payments, the quicker the city finishes the cleanup.
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