Eight weeks after catastrophic storm, debris lingers on north side

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Nearly two months have passed since severe storms rocked Richmond’s north side, causing millions of dollars in damages and cleanup costs.

The storm toppled huge trees that damaged houses, cars, utility lines and fences, ripped up sidewalks and lawns and caused further property damage throughout major sections of Richmond.

Residents are now asking how much longer the cleanup will take. A majority of the work is complete, but all throughout the 3rd voter district damaged sidewalks, brush waiting for pickup and limbs dangling from trees can be found.

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“Absolutely nothing has been done,” said Shelley Greene, one of dozens in attendance at a meeting on cleanup efforts Wednesday night as lingering destruction from the June 16 storm poses a potential risk to public safety.

“There are a lot of dangers there,” she told 8News, referencing the sidewalk in front of her house. “There’s no safety tape, no cones, nothing to prevent other citizens from danger when they come into contact with that. There’s probably an eight-to-ten foot tree stump with a giant root ball attached, there are several large slabs of cement sidewalk that have been pulled up.

3D457FB1630A4B1EA211516DE634363AMy neighbor’s front steps have been pulled up by the roots of the tree.”

Others in the area raised similar concerns. “Between me and my neighbor, there’s a limb hanging over into the street that could fall and crush one of our cars,” said Lois Sisk.

Representatives for Dominion Virginia Power and the city’s public works department asked for patience from those in attendance, fielding questions about traffic lights, sidewalks and brush pickup.

“They’ve had a lot thrown at them and I appreciate the efforts,” said north side resident Patrick Saylor. “My sense is that the city is doing the best they can with the resources they have.”

According to public works, there are currently more than 2,800 open requests for debris removal.

“63% of all bulk and brush requests are four weeks old or less,” said Public Works deputy director of operations Bobby Vincent, Jr.

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As worries mount about pests building homes in the brush, the department asked residents to use their personal pickup trucks to haul it away.

The city said the brush and bulk collection could take at least another four to five weeks if left to public works employees only.

Vincent said the department is currently trying to secure the funding to move forward with the more than one thousand square yards of sidewalk repairs needed in the affected area.

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