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State-hired contractors begin cleanup

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By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

Sun Staff Writer

The state of Kentucky awarded Hickey Enterprises, Inc. a contract to pickup and remove ice storm debris from state and county roads in Washington County. They were scheduled to start the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 18. As of Friday morning, they were yet to show up for work. A call Monday morning to Chad Filiatreau, transportation and engineering supervisor with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, revealed that Hickey was in the county and preparing to start work.

"They did show up with some equipment this morning (Monday)," said Filiatreau. "They were supposed to be here Friday and didn't show up until today."

Filiatreau said that there was a holdup with some paperwork and hoped everything would go right so Hickey could start. One area where Filiatreau said Hickey would be starting on soon was KY-152 south of KY-150.

Hickey won the contract with a bid of $5.55 per cubic yard. Hickey will provide two crews with five men each, and each crew will have a state representative with them to track loads. A member of the county road crew may also be present to identify where county roads end. Hickey crews will only be responsible for pickup and removal of debris to sites within the county.

“Hickey and his sub-contractor from Alabama met with us Wednesday,” said Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles. “There's been some concern about another site. Hickey doesn't like that our collection site is on one end of the county and he's got to haul it that far. So far, we're sticking to our guns on that.”

“He bid on that job, he knew where it was,” said magistrate Morris Sweazy.

Judge Settles added, “The guy from Alabama, who has done hurricane removal for years, said that this isn't that big a job. He's looking to hire some local people to run chain saws and be flagmen for him. He's bringing in two trucks with grapple hooks, but he also needs local people with dump trailers to go back into some of these county roads where they can't turn around, their trucks are fairly large.”

The judge stressed that the county has no contract with local workers hired to do subcontract work for Hickey Enterprises.

“We have no part of that contract. That is specifically between that individual and Hickey Enterprises, Inc.,” Settles said.

Magistrate Hal B. Goode asked Judge Settles about leaning trees and to what degree the tree must be leaning in order to be removed.

“That's going to be determined by the state inspector,” added Judge Settles. “If it's leaning to the point that when it comes down it's going to be in the right-of-way, it will have to be brought down. The crew from Alabama said their trucks are strong enough to pull the tree out by the roots.”

Questions were raised about going onto private property to remove trees.

“A perfect example is on Walnut Street,” Settles said. “There's a big tree that's leaning down, but it's high enough to drive under. Some day soon that tree's going to come down. It's behind a black wooden fence.”

“So they will take that entire tree, even though part of it is off the right-of-way?” asked Goode.

“That's what they were talking about yesterday,” replied Settles. “Any limb or tree that presents a hazard.”

Hickey Enterprises is also cleaning roads in Marion County and is waiting for more trucks to arrive to begin the cleanup process. Marion County opted out of the state contract but hired Hickey independently.

While Springfield opted out and is using their own crews to cleanup within the city, residents of Mackville and Willisburg are asked to bring their storm debris to the state highway.

“Those cities get very little county road aid money,” Judge Settles added. “Both mayors would like people to bring their debris out to the state highway to avoid the cities getting backcharged. There's a couple places in Willisburg where that will be difficult, but I think they can accomplish that in Mackville. Even though the state routes go through the town, they will still consider those state routes.”

Motorists are advised to use caution when traveling city and county roads as crews begin the cleanup process.