Government contractor protest puts Bainbridge behind on debris removal

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 9, 2018

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Saturday marks one month since Hurricane Michael made landfall and it's devastation is still very visible across South Georgia.

In Bainbridge, the damage was so bad they canceled neighborhood trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Friday, thick debris still piled high along city streets. Some areas appear as if nothing has changed, and some residents say it hasn't.

"I still see them working on the power lines. They just started picking up the piles of debris on the side of the road, so it's going to be a long time doing that," said Ashley Long, a resident.

A community that once felt relief, now feels confused.

Last month, FEMA assigned a contractor to tackle county-wide debris. However, days later nothing happened.

The City says another contractor filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, after losing the project bid.

The filed report placed a stop order on all clean up, leaving damaged towns, like Bainbridge, in limbo.

"We would like to get back to our normal routines as quick as possible, but unfortunately it's set us back a little," said Steve Winburn, Public Service Director.

In the last week, the stop order lifted.

The awarded contractor, Corps of Engineers, is now covering 20,000 cubic yards a day.

In three sweeps, they're working to restore the community.

"Things are finally moving, but it's going to be a slow process," said Winburn.

Bainbridge Public Services says they hope to have the third phase finished in December, before the new year.

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