As of Thursday, the contractors hired by the township have completed their assignments removing brush from the township, and now the Department of Public Works will begin making the rounds for the remaining collections.
Township administrator James Naples said the seven contractors hired through emergency funding to clean up brush left on curbsides after Superstorm Sandy have completed their work collecting once from each street in Bridgewater.
“It is our estimate that 75 percent of the township is now done,” he said. “Certain neighborhoods are not done, and we have directed the DPW to start with those.”
“Some still have significant brush left and some don’t,” he added.
Naples said the township has a detailed list of houses with logs remaining, and the DPW will go around and pick up the remaining materials.
To date, Naples said, the contractors have picked up 14,325 cubic yards of chipped debris, and moved 19,000 cubic yards from the park sites to the yard waste site.
The township’s yard waste site on Foothill Road, Naples said, is currently closed and will reopen Jan. 25 to residents. At that point, he said, the township will close the dump sites at the different parks.
“We closed the yard waste site because the size of the piles was getting unsafe and unwieldy for residents coming in and out,” he said. “Also, the contractors have [materials] for grinding the stumps, and there is apt to be debris flying. It’s unsafe to have the public coming in and out.”
And when the yard waste site reopens, Naples said, the park sites, except for Harry Ally Memorial Park, will be closed to brush drop-off.
“Based on what the DPW staff has seen, we are getting a lot of out-of-town contractors now dropping debris there,” he said. “It has gotten to a point where we have blocked off some parks with equipment, and we have had people dropping debris next to the equipment.”
“It is safe to say we are at the tipping point where it is less beneficial for our residents, and it is becoming abusive,” he added.
Still, Naples said, once the yard waste site reopens, residents can still drop debris there.
Starting Tuesday, Naples said, three DPW crews, with assistance from county workers, will begin removing the remaining brush and logs from homes.
“While the crews are out there, they can take the small logs too,” he said.
Naples said he believes the project has been a success on the whole.
“The job the contractors did was excellent, and they were all supervised so we had someone out there monitoring every day,” he said. “I think the program has worked well, and we got almost no complaints from residents.”
But, Naples said, it is obvious that with the volume of brush needing to be cleared, this program was necessary.
“We’re in January, and we still have people with piles of brush,” he said. “We will finish up hopefully shortly, and get the logs removed before the spring.”