DPW working on 1,300+ tree requests, 70% which are 'critical'
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dozens of Department of Public Works crews are working around the clock to remove downed trees across the city, a challenge that is still days away from being completed following Tuesday's severe storm.
DPW said it received more than 1,300 tree requests since Tuesday, with 70 percent of those being 'critical,' meaning they are blocking a road or are on a house, building or vehicle.
One factor that is slowing down the removal of some trees is the involvement of tangled wires.
"In those instances where we think there might be the potential for electricity, we have to be working with We Energies," Mayor Tom Barrett said in a virtual news conference.
That is the case near 17th Street and Washington Street, where a fallen tree is blocking the street and part of it is on top of a pickup truck. One family on the corner of the intersection is still without power.
"It kind of quivered a little bit and then it fell over," Dennis Whalen told CBS 58. Whalen uses a wheelchair and is glad the fallen tree does not impact his access to the sidewalk or to his garage.
"I'm fine, I'd like see this all get cleaned up, but [that's] not up to me," Whalen said.
Others in the neighborhood are concerned about the time it has taken for the city to address the tree.
"The kids go under the tree to play. What happens if the tree fell on top of the guys, you know, the little boys? Nobody listens to us. Nobody," the woman, who only wanted to be identified as Alicia, said.
"I get my medication delivered and now my mail isn't being delivered," Rhonda Cruz told CBS 58. Cruz's front gate is inaccessible because of the tree that has fallen across it and into her yard. Cruz had to work with her postal worker to have a box set out in the back of the house for mail to be delivered.
DPW said it is asking for patience as it continues to make progress.
"We should have all public access restored by the end of this weekend," DPW's director of operations Danielle Rodriguez said during the news conference. "But as far as clearing up any other trees that are along sidewalks or off to the side, that could be several days to a week from now."
To report an electrical outage or check the status of an outage:
Residents performing cleanup this weekend
The City of Milwaukee Drop Off Center accepts up to six cubic yards of brush, including logs and larger branches at no charge. Spoiled food that is bagged will also be accepted, double-bagging spoiled food at the Drop Off Center or in garbage carts is encouraged.
Drop-off centers are open Tuesday-Sunday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visit milwaukee.gov/dropoff for locations. Open to city of Milwaukee residents and property owners, ID required.
Sanitation Services will collect up to two cubic yards of brush, branches less than 6” in diameter and less than 4’ in length, curbside upon request at no charge. Request a brush pickup online at milwaukee.gov/clickforaction or by calling 414-286-CITY.
Brush should be at your regular collection point for service. Please do not put brush or other debris in the street for collection.
If parking access is blocked by downed trees and you need street parking, go online to milwaukee.gov/parking to get up to three days of permission. For permission more than three nights due to storm damage, call 286-CITY to request additional nights.
To report issues that need city service, the most efficient way is via the UCC by calling 286-CITY (2489) or through one of their digital channels found here: https://milwaukee.gov/ucc.