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Roadside tornado debris cleanup starting in Bradley County


Cleanup will take about 3 to 4 weeks to collect all debris throughout Bradley County, which will happen in phases.

People in Bradley County affected by the four tornadoes on the night of April 12 have been waiting for debris pick-up.

Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis told Channel 3 that the bidding process for outside contractors was complicated and time consuming, but they got the contracts approved and then signed last Friday.

Crews are in town on Tuesday to start the process.

Cleanup will take about 3 to 4 weeks to collect all debris throughout Bradley County, which will happen in phases.

Special trucks are used by the contractors that are able to handle larger loads than a normal dump truck.

“They’ll come through and make one pass down every street where we were affected in any way – whether it was a total destruction of a house or they just had a bunch of trees down,” Troy Spence, Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Director, explained.

The first pass will pick up what is along the roads’ right of ways currently, and then allow time for further clean-up.

“We’ll be asking volunteers to come back a second time. There’s plenty more debris that’s not on the street yet,” said Mayor Davis.

Moving the debris to the right of way by the streets allows the contractors to pick it up.

Second and third passes of collection will then be made across Bradley County.

“One thing that we are going to ask everybody to do is help us in sorting the debris,” stated Spence.

Debris should be sorted into vegetative, construction and demolition debris, white goods which includes refrigerators, washers and dryers, and lastly electronics.

Having sorted piles is more helpful than mixed debris piles.

“If we can put all the vegetative together in one place, and they’ll come by and pick that up and take it to a different place and burn it. And, it’ll be a little bit cheaper,” Spence reasoned.

The other debris types will be taken to the landfill.

The exact cost for the county is not known but they want to get the work done for the people.

“It’s whatever it takes to get it cleaned up. We will spend a lot of money getting it cleaned up, and then we’ll spend a lot of time with the documentation and hopefully get most of it if not all of it back eventually,” Mayor Davis said.

FEMA and the state should reimburse the county at 88% of the cost.

“We’re going to start over in East Cleveland first because we have the most destruction here. All the destroyed homes are in this area,” Spence told Channel 3.

Residents are thankful to be alive, and have received help from the Salvation Army and Red Cross.

“We just appreciate everybody, friends and families, everything people have contributed. And we appreciate the prayers and support. That’s all that’s helped us through,” Cookie & Steve Woods, who lived in their Cleveland home for 40 years, said while holding back tears.

“We want to pick this up first, so it gives them time to move everything out and get a clean slate, so they can start rebuilding their lives,” assured Spence.

More volunteers will be needed after the first and second passes of debris collection are done.

CrossNet Baptist Network is coordinating the relief effort, and you can reach them at 423-476-5493.

If you need help, you can also contact the Emergency Management office at 423-728-7289.


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