Just a few weeks after Superstorm Sandy hit Bridgewater, the township is moving forward with curbside pick-up of brush and debris, planning for seven different companies to begin traversing the town, starting Monday.
The council unanimously approved a resolution to hire Absolute Tree Experts, LLC; CRI Total Site Service; FTS, Inc.; Hayden Construction Group Corp; High Tech Landscape, Inc.; K&J Tree Service; and RJS Associates Landscaping, Inc. to perform brush pick-ups around Bridgewater.
“As everyone is aware, all you have to do is walk out the door, and you see a lot of brush out there, a lot of damage,” said township administrator James Naples. “Residents have been diligent about chopping it up and putting it curbside.”
The first step the township took, Naples said, was to set up six park sites to drop off debris, and the township had to close off Ardmaer Park, Crim Park and Chimney Rock Park this past weekend because so much brush had been dropped off.
“We thank the residents who are dropping off material directly because it is a cost savings,” he said.
As for the contractors, township engineer Robert Bogart said there is a shortage in the availability of contractors at this time. But of the ones hired, he said, four worked in last year’s storms, two have worked for the township in another capacities and one has positive references.
“We are hiring them on a weekly basis, and there is no difference in the bids,” he said. “They will all be four-man crews.”
The costs will be $2,500 per day per crew.
The funds for this work were made available in an emergency resolution the council recently approved with regard to the storm. The township is hoping to get 75 percent of the costs back from FEMA.
Bogart said the township is also assigning one person from the administration to work with each of the crews.
“We are not sure exactly how it will play out, but we will see how smoothly it goes with just one crew per company for the first week,” he said. “Some of the companies can supply only one crew, and some could do many crews. We will have someone monitoring this on a regular basis.”
At the end of the day, Bogart said, the companies will turn in reports on what streets they have finished.
Bogart said the township will be collecting brush and branches and such, but will not be taking leaves.
“People are not allowed to load leaves into the street, or dispose of them without bagging them,” he said. “If the leaves are mixed with the brush, they will not take anything.”
Bogart said the companies will also not be able to take large trees, but will return for them at a later date.
The curbside pick-up will begin Monday at 7:30 a.m., and will continue each weekday until the contractors have made it to each street in the township one time. The clean-up will continue from the start date, and will progress until each street is done, but there is no estimate of when individual streets will be done.
The drop-off sites at the parks will remain open as well.
These are the guidelines provided for residents concerning placing storm-related brush curbside:
- All brush should be cut to 5-foot pieces.
- Brush should be placed behind the curb line or edge of pavement.
- Brush should not be placed in the roadway.
- Logs and leaf bags should be in separate piles from branches.
- Loose leaves will not be picked up, but should be placed in paper bags to be picked up separately.
- Each street will only be checked once.
- The individual homeowner is responsible for taking care of any lawn restoration.
- Leaf bags and logs will be picked up on a different schedule by the township Department of Public Works.