It’s been more than a month since Hurricane Irma blasted through Central Florida but some streets look like she just left.
“It stinks that it’s still here,” said Andy Gillis, 41, who lives on West Williams Avenue in northwest Orange County and has a mountain of logs and limbs at the side of his driveway. “Pulling out on the road you have to kind of stick your head out around the debris.”
Most local governments say they’re slowly chipping away at curbside heaps, but Altamonte Springs, Edgewood, Lady Lake and Winter Garden all say they are done with pick-up.
Orlando officials estimate they have picked up about half of the 300,000 cubic yards of debris Irma left behind in the City Beautiful, while a project manager in Orange County estimated about 845,000 cubic yards — about 35 percent of Irma’s storm debris in unincorporated Orange — remains on the ground.
Carol Crawford, 69, fired off an email Sunday morning to Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs because of debris piled in front of her Matchett Road home in unincorporated Orange.
The other side of Matchett, located in Belle Isle, is debris-free, having been cleaned up over a week ago.
A reply from the mayor’s office, while sympathizing with Crawford, asked for her patience and understanding and provided the retired lawyer an internet link to drop-off sites where county residents can dump debris for free.
“So free drop-off points is your solution for a senior citizen who would have to go buy a truck and trailer, load it and then unload it,” Crawford wrote back. “Your response is nothing but governmental manure.”
Records show Orange’s 311 information line has received nearly 400 requests for special debris pickup and 125 others reporting debris blocking roads, a high-priority call.
But help may be on the way.
“We’ve gotten quite a few crews that have come in recently to help,” said Frank Yokiel, project manager for Orange County Public Works’ engineering division.
Debris-removal crews who finished jobs in Texas and other Florida cities are now digging in here.
Site Solutions of Central Florida, for instance, wrapped up work Thursday in Winter Garden after collecting debris shoved onto city streets by residents in county enclaves.
“We felt we needed to do it because the county’s behind right now and debris might sit out on our major roads for quite some time,” said Mike Bollhoefer, Winter Garden city manager.