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Ice storm cleanup entering final phase

The Town of Clifton Park will soon be free of the debris created by last December's ice storm, as the final cleanup began on Wednesday, April 1.

Vanauken Trucking was contracted by the town to handle the pickup operations at a cost of up to $3 million. A plan has been devised to make the operation move as swiftly and efficiently as possible, said Clifton Park Highway Superintendent Richard Kukuk.

What we've done is divide the residential areas into eight zones, and we're going to do one zone in the north, one in the south, where the contractor will go through each area with electronic grapplers and pick up the large piles of debris, he said. "Our crews will come along behind them to pick up after them, and we will probably make a second pass after the first four or five weeks."

Residents are asked to pile their debris as neatly as possible alongside the road (crews will not enter private property to pick up debris). Larger piles " instead of long, low rows " will expedite the process.

Kukuk said that crews are expected to clean up at least 100,000 cubic yards of debris once all is said and done, although that number could go as high as 200,000.

Seventy-five percent of cleanup costs will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the state will pick up 12.5 percent; and the town will pay for the remainder.

The Town Board awarded the contract to Vankeuren, a local operation, at its Monday, March 23, meeting. It had been long since decided that the storm's impact on Clifton Park would require outside assistance once weather allowed it.

"It's kind of been a day-to-day thing," said Supervisor Philip Barrett, of the cleanup so far. "Some neighborhoods still have a fair amount of snow and ice There's a tremendous amount of debris out there, between residents' lawns and the parks."

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