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Town debris cleanup expected to span at least a month

Florida Department of Transportation's initial sweep of Gulf of Mexico Drive was completed Tuesday morning.

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  • | 8:48 a.m. October 11, 2022
  • Longboat Key
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Debris cleanup is in its initial stages for the town of Longboat Key following Hurricane Ian. Monday marked the sixth day of cleanup efforts. 

Cleanup provided by a town-contracted service began Wednesday, Oct. 5 and started on public roads of the town. For private roads, typically those within neighborhoods, right of entry agreements had to be submitted prior to the contractor making its way through to collect debris. 

"Many of those (agreements) are now in place," Town Manager Tom Harmer said Monday. "We are still finishing the first pass on the public roads, which should wrap up before the end of this week." 

Due to the timing, it is likely that before the end of the week, contractors are likely to be entering the neighborhoods that have the right of entry agreements on file. 

To complete the entirety of the first pass on both public and private roads on the island, Harmer anticipates the process taking multiple weeks. 

"Typically, the first pass picks up all the debris that was initially placed out there," he said. "There is normally some level of additional cleanup that's occurring."

Because Gulf of Mexico Drive is a state road, the town's FEMA representative advised that the town's private contractor was not allowed to pick up debris along that road. The Florida Department of Transportation coordinated an initial sweep of the island, starting Thursday. Oct. 6. 

Harmer expects the state's sweep along Gulf of Mexico Drive to be completed this week. The state will only be completing one pass. 

Harmer noted that additional cleanup can already been seen along Gulf of Mexico Drive in areas where the state has already come through for their pass along the road. Debris left on roads following the initial pass is gathered during any additional passes through the island. 

Following a hurricane, it is typical for three passes through the island to be necessary to complete all debris cleanup. 

For Hurricane Ian, FEMA is covering 100% of costs for debris removal for the first 30 days. 

FEMA regulations also require that the process of pickup is highly regulated and monitored. The town has put a debris monitoring contractor in place to ensure the town meets required processes and necessary documentation is in place. 

During cleanup, the town's waste management department has opted to suspend recycling services for the next two to four weeks because of storm priorities and limited resources, an email from Harmer to commissioners read. Similar actions have been taken in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 


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