SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Debris trucks dispatched by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have been hard at work in San Augustine County, removing debris left behind after this month’s tornado.
A preliminary report from County Judge Jeff Boyd indicated at least 162 homes and at least 10 businesses sustained a wide variety of damage.
Debris trucks have been busy for nearly two weeks; however, Boyd said he was afraid the state wouldn’t be able to dispatch any help to San Augustine.
“At first, TxDOT told me that they couldn’t help with the cleanup, so I made a few calls," said Boyd. “With the help of Robert Nichols, we got TxDOT to agree to do what they call a one pass.”
A ‘one pass’ means TxDOT debris trucks have traveled down each road and section where damage was reported from the tornado and they picked up vegetative debris that had been pushed to the edge of the road.
A TxDOT spokesperson says the agency has been willing to help with the debris cleanup since the storm occurred. The proper process that would allow them to begin work had to be followed and in place prior to crews beginning the debris cleanup.
“They’ve been so good to work with us because if there’s so much debris that we push some up and we can’t get anymore, they’ll come get it and let us push some more up, and they’ll get that even a third time,” Boyd explained. “So, one pass has turned into two or three passes really.”
The state contractors are hiring local residents to keep tally of each load hauled off. They're also hiring traffic safety workers.
Also on streets are private contractors. Their job is pack up the damaged house and prepare it for demolition or renovations.
Shannon Moody with Service Master said, “When I go in I try to cash out what I can and save what I can. What isn’t any good, they get reimbursed for what they lost.”
It’s a privilege of being insured. Judge Boyd is concerned for those who aren’t. His task this day was to find someone to lift a heavy tree off an elderly woman’s uninsured home.