Collier County officials are asking residents for patience, as many branches and fallen trees have yet to be removed, almost two weeks after a major storm blew through the area.
Russell Layton had just arrived to visit his sister in Golden Gate for a few weeks when a storm bringng heavy winds - the equivalent of an EF-1 tornado - swept through Collier County in the early morning hours of January 17, bringing down trees and large branches. Almost 2 weeks later, piles of branches and tree limbs are still piled up along the streets.
"All this rubbish has been here since the storm...and hasn't moved yet," Layton said. "I mean, the trash collectors pick our trash up."
Daniel Rodriguez, director of Collier County's Solid Waste Department, said the extent of damage from the big storm was much greater than many first realized.
"We ask the residents if they could be patient," Rodriguez said. "We're going to pick it up. We have clear direction from our county manager - let's get this cleaned up quickly - and we have the resources to do that."
The county has hired AshBritt, a debris collection contractor, to go through Golden Gate and Golden Estates to remove the storm debris. Crews from AshBritt began collecting piles of branches and tree limbs Friday.
Collier County officials ask residents to get any storm-related vegetation debris piled on the curb no later than February 7, and to make sure that no fire hydrants, storm drains or roadways are blocked.