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Crews Use Barge To Clean Up Debris From Hurricane Floyd

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A barge is being used to pull out fallen trees and branches, left behind by Hurricane Floyd in Rocky Mount.(WRAL-TV5 News)
ROCKY MOUNT — Cleanup crews are on the water in Rocky Mount, still picking up from Hurricane Floyd. They are bringing in the heavy machinery for the job.

A barge is being used to pull out fallen trees and branches, left behind by Hurricane Floyd. It is so unusual that several Rocky Mount residents are stopping to stare.

"I came by this morning and saw it. It's really unique to see this on the Tar River," says spectator Scooter Hedgepath. "I never thought I'd see a barge and a crane working on the Tar River."

"I watched them put in on the boat ramp yesterday, and I couldn't believe what I saw today with the heavy equipment. It's really awesome," says spectator Judith Cox.

The equipment can clean up to a mile of river each day between Rocky Mount and Tarboro. Wayne Shuler, the barge's contractor, says this is the most environmentally-friendly way to do the job, and if this job is like a lot of others he has done around the country, he could find some unusual things out in the water.

"Automobiles, motorcycles. As a matter of fact, when we cleaned the Ashey River after Hugo, we found where someone had driven a car off a boat ramp," he says.

The government hopes that removing the debris will help reduce future flooding and free up the water for other boats. If the weather cooperates, the crew hopes to be done sometime in March. Shuler also says he may hire a helicopter pilot to lift the debris if the price is right.

The barge cleanup is one of 91 projects going on in our state's streams and rivers right now. TheU.S. Department of Agricultureis funding all of the cleanup for about $12.6 million.


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