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Storm clean up costs

Arkansans are still dealing with the effects after a major winter storm more than a week later.
Arkansans are still dealing with the effects after a major winter storm more than a week later.

The Christmas Day storm dumped more than ten inches of snow and left more than 200,000 people without power. Crews are now cleaning up the damage by hauling away downed tree branches and filling in pot holes.

Using chain saws, Little Rock Public Works crews are cutting up downed trees and clearing streets of the broken limbs with fork lifts. The debris is then dumped off by the truck load to be turned into mulch. Jim Carloss and his crew have been working 24/7. "We've been working around the clock in 12 hour shifts since the storm hit."

Carloss is just one of more than 100 city workers chopping down trees and filling pot holes citywide. Carloss says they ran out of filling today and had to stop to make more. It could take months to fix all the streets. Carloss says this reminds him of 12 years ago. "That ice storm in 2000 was pretty bad. We had debris everywhere then and this rivals that."

No word yet from the City of Little Rock on how much this extra work will cost, but it won't be cheap.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says there's no choice in the added work load. Spokesperson Randy Ort says, "When you're talking about snow and ice removal, debris removal, fixing signs, and guard rails, those are not optional expenses. Those are things we have to do to keep the roadways serviceable and safe."

Ort says this recent storm left behind a lot of damage. "For Arkansas, a 10 inch snow is pretty phenomenal. We'll typically spend $5 million to $6 million on snow and ice removal." But Ort says it could cost tens of millions of dollars to clean up if winter weather strikes again.

The City of Little Rock is only cleaning up debris and repairing streets in the public right of way. If yard waste on private property is compiled and placed on the curb then the City of Little Rock will haul it away.

The mixture crews are using to fill pot holes is only a temporary fix. They will have to go back later and fill the streets with a more permanent mixture.
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