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Lee county surpasses 1 million yards of debris collection, covering 1,000 miles

The county is on a faster pace than post-Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Some 1,020 miles of Lee County roadway have been cleared in the first-pass collection of storm debris post-Hurricane Ian. (Courtesy photo)
Some 1,020 miles of Lee County roadway have been cleared in the first-pass collection of storm debris post-Hurricane Ian. (Courtesy photo)
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Lee County recently surpassed a milestone in debris cleanup post-Hurricane Ian, in collecting 1 million cubic yards of debris. 

Through Oct. 24, 734,136 cubic yards of vegetation and 285,282 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris have been cleaned up, according to a statement. That’s about equivalent to the size of 1.1 million kitchen ovens removed from the road right-of-ways in unincorporated Lee County, officials say. 

In addition, some 1,020 miles of Lee County roadway — the distance from Fort Myers to Washington, D.C. — have been cleared in the first-pass collection of storm debris. This includes vegetative and structural debris removed from county-maintained roads, officials say in a separate statement. 

During the entire Hurricane Irma cleanup effort in 2017, Lee County removed 1.95 million cubic yards of debris in about four and a half months. With the current pace, Lee County officials expect to have removed the same amount of Hurricane Ian debris by the week of Nov. 7. This represents a collection rate 77% faster than collections after Hurricane Irma.

Roughly 25% of the estimated 4 million cubic yards that had been sitting curbside has already been collected, the release states. Due to the extensive damage countywide, county staff expect more debris will be brought to the curb in the coming months.

First-pass collection on Estero Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach south to Hickory Boulevard in Bonita Springs tackled another kind of debris: The roadway was completely covered in sand that required removal to allow safe passage for vehicle traffic. To date, 69,648 cubic yards of dirty sand has been collected and taken to multiple debris management sites to be screened of debris, officials say. 

“Hurricane Ian left Lee County residents with such great amounts of debris that often neighborhoods that receive a first-pass collection quickly fill curbsides back up with additional debris,” the release states. “Collection trucks will be back for additional passes but are currently working to provide each area of unincorporated Lee County with a first pass."

“Our job is not complete until there is no more hurricane debris at curbsides,” said Doug Whitehead, director of Lee County Solid Waste, in the statement. 

More debris removal information is available on the county’s website, along with a Debris Removal Information Dashboard. The dashboard provides an up-to-date debris removal map.


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