Spring is here, but suburbs are still cleaning up winter's mess

While state, county and municipal officials have largely finished their post-disaster studies of the hellish Feb. 5 ice storm, many residents are still dealing with the aftermath.

In Lower Merion, special garbage pickup days were designated to get rid of the fallen tree branches and other debris left behind by the storm.  Pickups began this week, but won't be finished until April 9.

The township debated whether to hire outside contractors, use city crews on overtime, or rely on residents to do the cleanup.   In the end they decided on a hybrid approach, with residents gathering the debris and setting it curbside for city trash crews to pick up, eventually.

In Cheltenham and elsewhere, tree trunks are still draped across crumpled gates.  On Susquehanna Road in Abington, brambles piled high on the sides of the road make for a claustrophobic drive.

Lisa Lutz, who lives in West Caln Township with her retired parents, said they’re still cleaning up from the last big storm, which knocked out power to much of Chester County and hit West Caln hard. Their home is in a wooded area and their lawn was covered in large branches. She said a tree in her yard “looks like a telephone pole” because most of its branches are gone.

The township website tells residents to pick up free burn permits that are good through the rest of the year. “West Caln Twp. will NOT be doing anything township wide due to the storms,” the website declares. “It is up to the residents to dispose of the debris.”

Many people are burning their debris, Lutz said, “But we have absolutely so much of it, it’s impossible.” So they rented a dumpster to throw the debris in.

The township cuts back trees along thoroughfares such Route 340 just enough so that they’re not hanging over the road or touching power lines.  Lutz said the trees should be cut down. “A lot of the trees they cut back, they’re still leaning. One more ice storm and these trees will be right in the middle of the road,” she said.


She said the township should offer residents financial assistance to help them cut down their trees. When Lutz’s family had a tree cut down a few years ago, it cost them well over $1,000, she said.