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JRTC, Fort Polk continues Hurricane Laura recovery efforts

Guardian Staff
Helicopters offload 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div (Air Assault) Soldiers in the Joint Readiness Training Center ‘box’ during air assault operations Aug. 18.

FORT POLK, La. — More than three weeks after Hurricane Laura slammed into the south Louisiana coast and crashed through Fort Polk with 130 mph winds, the scars are still visible across the installation.

Extensive damage was done to the roofs of housing on Fort Polk during Hurricane Laura.

Splintered trees, tarps on roofs and sporadic power outages continue to remind Fort Polk residents and workers of the storm’s strength.

The perimeter fence of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk was damaged in numerous places by falling trees, the result of Hurricane Laura’s 130 miles per hour winds.

But despite these visible reminders, the resiliency and tenacity of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk team continues to make daily headway, continuing day-to-day operations and the primary mission: Preparing infantry brigade combat teams to survive and win against the nation’s enemies.

The following improvements of note have been realized since Laura’s arrival on Aug. 28:

• Golf Course Running Trail. Directorate of Public Works Forestry mobilized equipment to remove trees on the golf course trail. They are currently (safely) removing hanging limbs with the man lift near the power lines. The task was complete as of Sept. 13. 

• Marion-Bonner Running Trail (North Fort Running Trail). Trail opened for use Sept. 12. DPW Operations and Maintenance Division, with The City of Leesville, began removing felled and dangerous trees from Marion Bonner Park.

• Perimeter Fence. Pride Industries continued to execute fence repairs and performing assessment for material procurement for cleared areas. Pride has removed trees and made temporary repairs to the perimeter fencing behind Range 23 and Range 23A. This effort completed temporary repairs for the perimeter fence. The current schedule consists of permanent repairs along La. Hwy 467, from Access Control Point 2 to Castor Gate.

• Signage. Directional signs are scheduled for completion today. Facility identification signage is approximately 87% complete with anticipated completion by Oct. 17. 

• Tree removal. Tree removal efforts continue at Siegfried Youth Center until complete. Upon completion of the South Fort effort, DPW will address the 161 trees on North Fort once 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) moves into the box for Rotation 20-10.

• Building damage assessment. The Corps of Engineers assessed 54 facilities since arrival on Sept. 8 identified as sustaining major damage. DPW personnel are continuing to assess garrison facilities for damage, and have assessed 1,280 facilities since Aug. 28. Preliminary estimates so far have the damage assessment at more than $10 million. This value will increase as more facilities are inspected and estimates refined. Estimated completion date for assessments is today.

• Housing. Corvias and the installation housing assistance office have assessed 1,465 homes which received damage from Hurricane Laura. The insurance estimator teams began assessment for insurance claims on Sept. 11. Munie, a tree and debris removal company, is continuing green debris cleanup in all three neighborhoods. Munie is at 90% complete on debris cleanup in all areas and the large stumps and hanging limbs are pending, with an estimated 50 large trees and limbs remaining. Corvias will have all neighborhoods complete by Sept. 25. The USAG-Housing Assistance Office is continuing between occupancy maintenance of homes in preparation for incoming Families.

• Pest Control. Sunday, the DPW Environmental and Natural Resource Management Division contractor utilized backpack sprayers along the military working dog kennels and foliage to address the mosquito problem.