Local News

Storm debris removal causes confusion for Raleigh neighborhood

Posted April 26, 2011 7:02 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2011 7:52 p.m. EDT

— The tornado that hit Raleigh 10 days ago knocked down an estimated 1,000 trees in one Raleigh neighborhood, and residents said trying to determine who will help clear the debris has been frustrating.

Huge piles of tree limbs and sections of tree trunks line Timber Lake Drive in northeast Raleigh. Herman's Tree Service has been hauling away the small vegetation, but resident Judy Leonard said calls to Wake County, the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency couldn't sort out who would pick up the bulk of the debris.

"It's been anger. It's been tears," Leonard said Tuesday. "(They said) no one will come in and pick it up free of charge."

The federal government declared Wake County a disaster area, so Leonard and other Timber Lake subdivision homeowners assumed that someone would help with debris removal.

"It's a drawn-out process. You might as well accept it," resident Ted Dossett said.

The state Department of Transportation has agreed to have highway crews collect debris from the side of state-maintained roads in Wake County, but the streets in the Timber Lake neighborhood aren't state-maintained.

"It is a privately maintained road, which does limit DOT's ability to get in there, but the county has assumed responsibility for working in those particular areas where DOT can't pick up," said Tommy Esqueda, director of the county's Environmental Services Department. "These are still citizens and residents of Wake County."

Debris removal is expected to start Wednesday along state roads, but crews probably won't start picking up debris along private roads until next week, officials said.

Getting the issue straightened out relieves a lot of stress for residents, Leonard said.

"That's all we need is assurance that they will come in. That's the only thing we want," she said.