Biggest day for crews clearing silt from city streets 22:00, Thursday 3 March 2011.

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Crews working to clear Christchurch streets of silt had their biggest day today, removing 50,000 tonnes of the grey dust and sludge.

Over 420 contractors are involved in the work which is being led by City Care and Fulton Hogan.

The total tonnage removed since the 22 February earthquake has now reached 218,000 tonnes, most of which has been trucked to Burwood landfill.

It is estimated that a further 60,000 tonnes remains to be cleared before the “first sweep” of city streets is complete says Operations Manager Peter McDonald.

“Much of that is in the Linwood area which will be a major focus of our efforts tomorrow, but there are pockets of silt in other areas as well and we are getting to those as best we can. We’ve divided the city into 14 zones, plus the CBD. Each zone has an inspector that is in the area daily to tell us where silt remains to be collected.”

Mr. McDonald says the 50,000 tonnes remaining will likely take a week or so to clear.

“That’s because we’re now dealing with smaller amounts of silt at more locations or in places on the street not easily accessed by vehicles and machinery. Weather and traffic will also play a part in how quickly the job gets done. Traffic is a real problem at the moment. It is really slowing us down. Also we really need residents to keep silt free of other rubbish and debris such as timber, carpet and broken household goods.”

In many cases crews are visiting streets on multiple locations as more silt is brought to the kerbside by residents.

Once the ‘First Sweep’ is complete work will continue to remove residual silt across the city. This work is expected to continue for eight weeks.

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