The cleanup from last month’s ice storm may last through early summer, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
SCDOT said 725 contract crews have been out along South Carolina highways and interstates clearing the debris in 19 hard-hit counties, which are largely south and east of Columbia. The crews have cleaned up close to 4,300 miles of roads and removed over 1.3 million cubic yards of debris so far, according to an SCDOT release.
But a spokesman said an estimated 460,000 trees still either hang over or lie next to roadways, posing threats to traffic or individuals.
The agency estimated it will cost over $160 million to remove all storm debris. Most of those costs are expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the White House issued an emergency disaster declaration on Wednesday for 21 counties.
Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and the repair or replacement of damaged public utilities. How the remaining 25 percent will be covered is to be determined later, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
Deadline for private property debris removal is March 24
SCDOT is asking that citizens please move all tree debris that occurred on their property during the storm to the state maintained right of way by no later than March 24.
This deadline is only debris from improved residential property with a dwelling and excludes debris from unimproved lots without a residence. It includes only vegetative debris generated by the February 2014 ice storm damages. The SCDOT will perform a final pickup of vegetative debris on the right-of-way of state maintained roads shortly after March 24.
Affected counties include: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg and Williamsburg.