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Flood, tornado recovery on track in Jefferson City, officials say

Three weeks after a damaging EF3 tornado plowed through the heart of Jefferson City, public works officials said the speed of the recovery process has been surprising, but it’s far from over.

Britt Smith, the department’s operations division director, provided an update on the cleanup Thursday morning to the city’s Public Works and Planning Committee.

The update focused on four areas: Debris removal, public infrastructure impacts, city property impacts and transportation.

Debris removal

Smith told the committee that more than 13,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris has been removed since the effort began on May 24. That amount adds up to about 2,600 dump truck loads of fallen trees and branches.

Removal of the non-vegetative debris, Smith told the committee, started on May 30 and so far has seen 400 tons removed, or about 270 dump truck loads.

Public infrastructure impacts

Of the city infrastructure impacted by the disasters, Smith said seven traffic signals, more than 40 city-owned street lights, three crosswalk or school zone flashing lights and more than 400 street sign poles were damaged.

City property impacts

Smith told the committee that 53 vehicles were damaged as a result of the disasters, 47 of which have been fixed and returned into service.

The City Hall building only saw minor damage including a broken window, while much greater impacts were left at Jefferson City Memorial Airport which was still affected by floods Thursday.

Two maintenance buildings, the airport’s control tower and the terminal building were all impacted and will need significant repairs.

Parking and transportation

While the flood waters continue to recede, Smith told the committee that several city roads were reopened, but some remain shut down.

Smith also said the many city and state-owned parking lots that were impacted will need to be cleared of the river residue left behind.

Many city and state employees continue to make use of the JEFFTRAN bus system to get to and from buildings adjacent to flooded lots, an arraignment Smith called successful.

Smith and committee chairman Ken Hussey said city leaders are meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the initial damage assessment process gets underway in Jefferson City Thursday.

ABC 17 News is in contact with FEMA and SEMA as those agencies continue their damage assessments in mid-Missouri.

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