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Overall Cleanup Process in Smithtown Could Take 3 Months

Roads are clear but it will take the town multiple trips to rid locals of all brush and debris, according to Smithtown's Superintendent of Highways.

Smithtown’s Highway Department has encountered some unexpected things during the Hurricane Sandy destruction cleanup, a process they could be taking care of for the next three months. 

Superintendent of Highways Glenn Jorgensen said Friday afternoon while directing workers on Jericho Turnpike in St. James that locals have told him they thought a tornado went through the town because there are some spots with ample damage while others within minutes of each other look untouched by Sandy.

“I think there were a lot of micro-bursts, that's what we're calling them,” he said. “There are areas with a couple trees and if you go a half mile or mile away and there's 10 trees across the road.”

Jorgensen said most of the roads in Smithtown are opened with all the trees removed, but there are still a few roads blocked by downed telephone poles. While these will be removed in a timely manner, Jorgensen said the overall cleanup process could take three months to have complete.

“You've got all the brush you have now and after a nice day or weekend you'll have all the backyard brush will be coming out,” he said. “We're going to get through the town and then we'll have to go through the town at least three or four more times.” 

While there are still hundreds of thousands of homes in Suffolk County and more than 20,000 in the dark in Smithtown as of Friday, Jorgensen commended LIPA’s efforts. Jorgensen was critical of their efforts during Tropical Storm Irene last year but said it has been easier to get the job done with LIPA after Sandy.

“LIPA is doing a good job, we're working together,” he said. “I'm satisfied with them this time.” 

LIPA, according to Jorgensen, has crews from Canada, Ohio, Vermont and other places within the U.S. helping get the work done specifically in the Town of Smithtown. 

Patch reported Friday that power restoration efforts could take until at least next weekend to hit most of the communities it serves not including parts of Long Island afflicted with heavy flooding or other major damages Sandy caused.

While LIPA has a nine-day estimated time line, Jorgensen said he thinks that number may be a little too optimistic but thinks it won't take LIPA too much longer than that to get power restored.

Jorgensen also confirmed no town employees working in the cleanup process have been injured.

Alan Yang November 03, 2012 at 07:55 PM
It seems like substation damage is an important factor towards power restoration for a given area. Anyone know which ones were damaged and the regions they serve? There has been no activity in Saint James so far.
JC November 03, 2012 at 09:24 PM
We were temporarily optimistic. Now our new estimate for our street in Commack is maybe by 11/7 at 11pm. They decided that our particular outage requires "specialists". Nuff said?
herbbie456 November 05, 2012 at 11:58 AM
LIPAs outage map is a joke. It hasn't changed since Thursday. The hard hat images are still where they were and their little triangles are still saying "Assessing". Cuomo needs to shake the place up. We've been paying for LIPA tree trimming service for years for what? Someone remind me.
One Opinion November 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Thank you to the large team from Michigan we have working in our area.
Georgiann Anderson November 08, 2012 at 06:51 PM
i'VE BEEN ASKING TO HAVE THE HOLES FILLED IN ON MY STREET SINCE 2008 - HWY DEPT IS CONSIDERING IT ON 2013 CALENDAR. GRASS IS GROWING IN THE STREET IN FRONT OF MY DRIVEWAY - DOWN TO DIRT - NEED I SAY MORE????

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