To the Editor:
Lee County reached an important milestone during the weekend by collecting 1 million cubic yards of debris from Hurricane Ian. As of Monday morning, 734,136 cubic yards of vegetation and 285,282 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris have been cleaned up. That is roughly equivalent to the size of 1.1 million kitchen ovens removed from the road right-of-ways in unincorporated Lee County.
During the entire Hurricane Irma cleanup effort in 2017, Lee County removed 1.95 million cubic yards of debris in about four and a half months. With the current pace, Lee County expects to have removed the same amount of Hurricane Ian debris by the week of November 7. This represents a collection rate 77% faster than collections after Hurricane Irma.
Roughly 25 percent of the estimated 4 million cubic yards that had been sitting curbside has already been collected. Due to the extensive damage countywide, county staff expect that more debris will be brought to the curb in the coming months.
First-pass collection on Estero Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach south to Hickory Boulevard in Bonita Springs tackled another kind of debris. The roadway was completely covered in sand that required removal to allow safe passage for vehicle traffic. To date, 69,648 cubic yards of dirty sand has been collected and taken to multiple debris management sites to be screened of debris.
Lee County has been cleaning its beaches in order to receive the newly-screened sand in an effort to begin restoration of the coastline. Currently, around 10% of the cleaned sand has been returned to local beaches.
For more information, visit leegov.com/hurricane/storm/debris, or follow @Lee County Government on Facebook, facebook.com/leecountyflbocc.