City Cleaning Up River Months After Ice Storm
by Jill Johnson
July 18, 2013 6:09 PM
It's been three months and the city of sioux falls is still feeling the effects from april's ice storm. For weeks, city crews have been working to remove branches from the big sioux river.
Lead Equipment Operator Chuck Putzier said, "It did a lot more damage than people think."
Putzier says April's Ice Storm is months behind us, but he says the clean up isn't, at least not along the Big Sioux River.
Putzier said, "We've been picking up debris and sticks out of the channel and it's largely around the bridges."
Putzier and his crew have been working on the water for nearly six weeks. Some of the work they do by hand, but at the Cliff Avenue bridge in Sioux Falls, there are so many tree limbs and so much debris, they have to send in an excavator.
Putzier said, "We're going to try and trek out there. We've got a big thumb on it, we'll just reach out there and grab it and he'll trek it out over here to shore and then we'll haul it up there, dump it in the trucks and away we'll go."
City officials say due to the ice storm they've seen 50 percent more branches in the river than they would in a normal year."
But the pile, crews say, is nothing compared to what they've seen down river. Some have been double in size.
"It just keeps gathering. If we get heavy rain, we just keep getting more and more and more," said Putzier.
Meaning it's up to his crew of five to ten men to clear the way. So if and when the rain does comes, they won't have a bigger job on their hands.
"If the sticks come down river, it's just picks them up and will block totally and we would have a mess," Putzier said.
After clearing the debris and branches from underneath the bridges, they'll start working on the banks of the River.