WESTFIELD, NJ—Most, if not all, of the 153 roads in Westfield that were immediately closed after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the region have been reopened. Many of these, however, remain barely passable.

The number one obstacle to clearing the streets remains downed power lines entangled in debris. The department of public works must wait for PSE&G to de-energize and remove these lines before workers can clear the streets for two-way traffic.

Meanwhile, the town is in the process conducting a one-time town-wide curbside cleanup of storm-related branches and twigs that are currently piled high on both sides of many Westfield roads, narrowing streets and making visibility difficult in some places. The collection is following the same pattern as the planned fall leaf collection. Zones one and seven have been completed and crews are currently working in zones two and eight.

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This cleanup is for organic debris such as branches and twigs. Due to the limitations of the town’s equipment and means of disposal, the town has said that it cannot collect entire trees or tree trunks from private property—that responsibility falls on property owners. Tree contractors who cut up trees on private property must dispose of the tree remnants as they normally do and should not place the remnants at the curb. 

Much of the massive damage from Sandy in Westfield was caused by big, old trees, many of which were completely uprooted by the storm. According to Town Administrator Jim Gildea, 13 Westfield homes have been condemned as a direct result of the superstorm, while fires afterward destroyed another house and severely damaged an apartment building. Thirteen detached garages were destroyed and an additional 53 homes have been severely damaged from Sandy.

In response, the town of Westfield has teamed up with the Westfield United Fund to create the Hurricane Sandy Westfield Relief Fund. The WUF is in the process of reaching out to those in the area in need of assistance.