CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Wednesday, Cape Coral city leaders said it is no small task to clean up what Hurricane Ian left behind.
During a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, Cape Coral's Solid Waste Manager Terry Schweitzer said right now debris crews are conducting their second pass.
“There will be some areas of the city such as 1... 3… and 9 and parts of 12 that will be getting 3 and possibly 4 passes,” said Schweitzer.
Those numbered areas Schweitzer talked about can be seen here on the city’s debris clean-up map.
Schweitzer said crews are expected to be finished with the second pass of debris cleanup by the end of December, with crews already surpassing the city’s estimated collection totals.
“We are over 100% of the c & d estimate and we are right at the 100% mark for vegetation,” said Schweitzer.
On Monday, December 5, Schweitzer said Waste Pro will once again resume horticulture pick-ups alongside the city’s contracted trucks.
Schweitzer said the incorrect staging of hurricane debris — like placing items in black bags — was slowing crews down. Schweitzer said crews cannot pick them up because they don't know what’s inside.
On Wednesday, city crews were also in the process of fixing street signs and traffic lights.
Michael Ilczyszyn, Cape Coral's Director of Public Works, said it's a monumental task.
“We have over 60,000 signs in the city,” said Ilczyszyn.
On Wednesday, Illczyszyn said replacing stop signs is the city’s top priority.
“The stop signs as of today we are about 40% complete, we are getting about 10% per week,” said Ilczyszyn.
Illczyszyn said stop signs at all major roads have been repaired and the remaining damaged signs are in neighborhoods. He added that the goal is to have all stop signs corrected by mid-January.
After that, he said the city will start to address other signs, and he gave some context by comparing it to Hurricane Charley back in 2004.
“It's monumental, we had the same situation in Charley and I don't want to say we are going to try to take the same amount of time but in Charley, it took us almost 14 months to the very last one,” said Illczyszyn.
Illczyszyn said lights with minor damage will be fixed by Lee County and those with damages exceeding $5,000 will initially be handled by the state.
On Wednesday, Illczyszyn said the city had not been given a time of completion from Lee County, but said repairs were already taking place.
Illczyszyn added that all traffic lights in Cape Coral have at least one functioning light for each direction.