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Ice storm debris removal underway

SALYERSVILLE – Ice storm debris removal is officially underway in Magoffin County, with FEMA contractors and workers now in the area.

Local workers cleared a large portion of the debris shortly after the ice storm hit Eastern Kentucky in efforts to make every road passable, however, many of the trees and limbs had to be left behind until the lengthy process of securing bid approvals for removal was granted at the state level.

Last week Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman announced on social media that the campers on the county property on Parkway Drive were actually a temporary location for the FEMA contractors and workers who will be clearing the debris from the ice storm off of state and county roads. He also noted that, “the company selected to perform the work was awarded a contract after a competitive bid process administered per state bidding law and per FEMA regulations. Anyone local, in-state or out of state were permitted to bid.”

Wireman told Mortimer Media Group the group, based out of Texas, will be working on the downed trees, often called the “leaners and hangers” in the industry. He explained it is an extensive process since they cut the trees, and then they have to take it to the industrial park, with another person from a different company required to observe the entire process.

According to the initial estimates, they will be removing approximately 6,000 cubic yards of debris just from the county roads, alone, with at least that much more on the state roads in Magoffin County.

Wireman also stated that they looked for several weeks for a place for the workers to stay while working here, finally deciding to make a “temporary” campground on some county-owned property, noting that the location could be rapidly added to the city water system and electric services. At present time, they can hold 21 campers on the site.

“Not having a local campground in Salyersville/Magoffin County or a motel, we temporarily created a site. The work should be done and the campers gone in about 4-6 weeks,” Wireman said in his post online.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of September.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Wireman said. “I know a lot of folks have been waiting to get those trees off their roads. It’s been scary for me, too. I don’t like seeing trees leaning and hanging, and wondering when they’re going to fall, because some of them actually have and we’ve ran out and cut them out of the way, but it’s still a scary time for those folks living on those roads.”

Wireman said the temporary site may extend past the work, at least long enough to see if there would be interest for a permanent campground.

“Now that we have the services there, I think it would be good,” Wireman said. “I think we have a lot of folks that want to come in and visit and we don’t have a motel, but if they have campers and want to bring them in, we have the site there. If Community Day was still going on, that would be a good spot for people to come in and camp and come down and watch that day’s events and be able to stay here in Salyersville. Same thing with Founders Day and other holidays. Once they clear out, we’re going to look at it and see what we can do to make it more attractive to campers and by next spring have it set up and just see how it goes.”

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