By Brandon A. Beach, USACENovember 25, 2012
PORT OF COEYMANS, N.Y. (Nov. 23, 2012) -- A wave of long-haul trucks lined up at the loading area at the Port of Coeymans, N.Y., a day after Thanksgiving.
Docked were four barges that had traveled by tugboat up the Hudson River from Staten Island loaded high with hundreds of tons of debris, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"It was load and go, load and go," said James Lindley, a quality assurance, or QA, specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York Recovery Field Office, helping to oversee safety at the port. "We had 166 trucks run through the port that day."
Since its barging operations began Nov. 10, the Army Corps has moved an estimated 26,000 tons of debris out of New York City, or NYC, coastal neighborhoods and up the Hudson River.
The Army Corps has contracted three tugs and 19 barges, including one seminal barge capable of carrying 2,200-ton loads, to speed the transport of debris to permanent landfills upstate. NYC Department of Sanitation officials have assisted the debris removal operations by providing 18 barges for use.
From Fresh Kills Park, a former disposal site on Staten Island for debris following the Sept. 11 tragedy, the Army Corps has made 37 successful barge trips to date. Round-trip travel runs just over 300 miles.
On Nov. 23, at the Port of Coeymans, after the final fleet of long-haul trucks was loaded at dusk, the total amount of material hauled out that day stood at 1,419 tons. Back on the highway, truckers were either headed to Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, N.Y., or nearby Colonie Landfill, a half-hour drive from the port. Residing at both landfills are Army Corps QA specialists monitoring the flow of operations.
At 400 acres, Seneca is the largest landfill in New York and will be the final resting place for most storm-damage debris. It can accept upwards of 6,000 tons a day. Colonie, on the other hand, is capped at half that figure.
Dan Potter, a trucker from Liverpool, N.Y., has made two runs every day since the Army Corps set up its barging operations at Coeymans. With a full load and a three-hour drive ahead of him to Seneca, Potter didn't have a lot of time to chat.
"Yeah, I should get going," he said.
As with most truck drivers on the clock, speed is of the essence. For the Army Corps, the same can certainly be said of its current debris mission in NYC.