First pass of debris work to be completed next week

Four days into their work, Biloxi’s debris teams have picked up about a third of the Hurricane Isaac debris from throughout the 50-square miles of the city, and by the end of next week, the crews should have made their first pass of the entire city.

This weekend, on Saturday and Sunday morning, in fact, the crews will be working on some of the busier areas of the city – on U.S. 90, and on Pass and Popp’s Ferry roads.

“They’ll be working in the early morning hours, just as the sun comes up on weekend days, when traffic volumes should be lower,” Kiser said. “And if they have a good weekend, I suspect we’ll be on our way to completing that first pass of the city by this time next week.”

Kiser, who earned the title “debris czar” while overseeing the removal of 3 million cubic yards of debris from Biloxi streets and neighborhoods during the 18 months after Katrina, said crews from city contractor Crowder Gulf Joint Venture have been working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

He said there’s an estimated 20,000 cubic yards of debris to be hauled away by Crowder Gulf’s half-dozen crews. The workers are canvassing city streets and neighborhoods with tandem container trucks, measuring as long as 60 feet and able to carry as much as 140 cubic yards of debris at a time. Each truck employs a knuckle boom to quickly lift debris into the huge containers.

“They’ve been going out at it really well and are doing a great job,” Kiser said. “We started them out on Eagle Point because that’s where the heaviest concentration of debris was, about 2,000 cubic yards. I felt like we needed to get Oaklawn done, which was important because it was a very narrow road leading into Eagle Point. It had big piles of debris, which made it difficult for emergency vehicles. We’re working throughout the city. What we find are the biggest piles, and we’ll work a grid around the whole neighborhood after we get the big pile.”

The city’s contractor has said workers should be able to complete the 30-day contract in eight to 10 days – today is Day 4 – but Kiser said he expects the work to be done in a total of 10 days, next Friday, if residents move debris to the curb.

“I realize that this is only the second dry weekend since the storm, so people may have not taken time off from work or had the time to move their debris,” Kiser said. “We know that once we’ve passed a neighborhood, more debris comes out to the curb. The bottom line is that it’s vitally important that we get this debris now, while we have state and federal funds covering the majority for the costs. Debris that lingers will cost the taxpayers of Biloxi a lot more money.”