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Debris pile growing along Ky. 313

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Fourth dumpsite eyeballed, no cleanup end in sight

By Bob White

HAVE DEBRIS TO REMOVE?

The Hardin County landfill at 3870 Springfield Road is accepting debris from January’s ice storm during daylight hours Monday through Saturday at no charge.

  By BOB WHITE bwhite@thenewsenteprise.com   RADCLIFF – A mountain of woody debris has been piling along Ky. 313 as truckers and laborers contracted by the state strive to find an end to the massive cleanup in wake of January’s ice storm. The stack on the Joe Prather Highway between Interstate 65 and the Ky. 251 intersection – now one of three storm dumps in the county — reaches up to 14 feet tall in places and stretches for a quarter mile along the north shoulder of Ky. 313, crew members said. Watchful eyes of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews perched atop a scissor lift inspect incoming loads for non-organic trash and estimate cubic yardage of the load before directing trucks to a drop off point. KTC worker Tony Wakefield said plans are for the state to contract a company to chip and remove the tons of debris. He was unsure how many more days or weeks he may be at Ky. 313 inspecting loads, but said kind weather this week has made work more tolerable than in the early weeks of cleanup. “We were out here in sleet and 20 mph wind,” Wakefield said. Hardin County Deputy Judge Executive James Roberts said Wakefield’s comment on plans for the ice storm dumps sounds accurate, without any definitive schedule or timeframe for cleanup. Roberts said the county may “piggy-back” onto the state’s contract for debris removal to clear the county-owned landfill at Springfield Road, which until recently was receiving 150 to 175 tractor-trailer loads as the only dump in the county for storm debris. The site at Ky. 313 and an old rock quarry along U.S. 62 near Wonderland Road have come online as dump locations.  A fourth site in northwestern Hardin County is being considered as a dump site, Roberts said. Loads remain relatively constant.

Roberts said the three dumps are averaging between a total of 135 to 140 loads per day. It’s unclear how much longer the cleanup effort will continue. The state’s original contract with CERES Environmental for the Hardin County cleanup is slated to expire April 6, according to the original agreement between CERES and KTC. KTC District 4 spokesperson Becky Judson said requests for an extension to that contract have been made and are awaiting approval in Frankfort. Driver Patrick Vandyke, a hauler subcontracted through CERES Environmental for the cleanup, said he has no idea how much longer he’ll be recovering debris from knuckle boom operators planted in subdivisions, but said he’s happy to have the work. A Virginian logger by trade, Vandyke said CERES Environmental, Kentucky government and FEMA have ensured workers on the cleanup get paid for their efforts – something he said he’s had trouble with on past disaster recoveries. “This is better than Texas,” Vandyke said. “We’re getting paid for our work here. I went down there for the (Hurricane) Ike cleanup and we never got paid. We're already getting paid for our work here.”

Paid crews with municipal Public Works Departments in Hardin County vary on their responses to the debris disaster. Elizabethtown Public Works continues to collect debris placed at the curb by city residents there. Radcliff debris collection points closed last week and city spokesman Bryce Shumate said much of the Ky. 313 debris pile is from Radcliff subdivisions. He said contractors working for the state will continue until a single pass through city streets is complete before calling it quits on their efforts in Radcliff. Shumate urged people to get debris to the roadside so not to miss the opportunity to have debris removed. Radcliff residents with questions about whether their street has been cleared by the haulers may contact Radcliff Public Works at 351-8150 for information. A city ordinance prohibiting debris at the roadside could be enforced later in the year, Shumate said. “If anyone has concerns they can call us,” Shumate said.   Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.