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.