The pace of tree debris removal from along curbs in Hannibal accelerated significantly Monday morning when a private contractor that specializes in post-storm cleanup started work.
"They have very impressive equipment ... very big equipment," said Brian Chaplin, project manager for the city, of Timberline of Lathrop. "This should take care of the majority of it."
It's the size of trucks the contractor has brought in that makes using Timberline cost effective for the city. City Manager Jeff LaGarce noted that it would take the city 20 loads with its largest trucks to equal one load for the contractor. A standard-sized dump truck would be outhauled by a ratio of 70 to 1.
"Owing to this large ratio, each day of their work 'generally' hastens the city cleanup by 20 days. Under the status quo, curbside clearing could take months, and the Street Department has other infrastructure obligations to meet. This equipment will cut months from the curbside cleanup process," said LaGarce.
Utilizing Timberline, whose fee is $800 per full load, will also save the city fuel costs.
"Non-stop curbside cleanup is burning roughly $2,000 per day in fuel costs," said LaGarce. "If this equipment can cut 60 days from the cleanup process, we'll save thousands in taxpayer funds."
The city, which does not anticipate having any state or federal funds come available as a result of a disaster declaration, has initially set a cap of $16,000 for the contractor's services.
"We'll monitor how much progress is made during this time," said LaGarce.
Chaplin, who praised Street Department personnel's efforts during the initial stages of the cleanup, said city personnel will still play a role in debris pickup.
"We won't be able to get all of it because these (Timberline) trucks that they're supplying are so big. Some of these streets we won't be able to get up and down," he said. "We're going to take care of the major areas with the big stuff with these (Timberline) trucks. We're still having the Street Department pick up some of the smaller stuff we didn't get and what was left over."
Timberline began working Monday on Grand Avenue. Its trucks were also slated to initially visit Palmyra Road, Central, Euclid and Bell, according to Chaplin.