Local police had a few local streets blocked Wednesday as local and county public works crews began the arduous task of clearing mountains of debris from crubs throughout Cranford's devastated flood zone.
Furniture - much of it still soaked with water from the deluge that accompanied Hurricane Irene three weeks ago - was tossed into front-end loaders along with heavy-duty trash bags, boxes, slabs of sheetrock, wood and childrens' toys.
Some homes still had Dumpsters parked in their driveways. Others were clear of debris, the only evidence of the flood outside their homes was damaged grass, shrubs and the remnants of tree limbs. A few residents on Springfield Avenue waited for the crews to move on to the next house before beginning to sweep and clear away the rest of the dirt and rubble left behind. Others retreated into their homes. They couldn't bear to watch.
"That's 40 years of our lives right there," said resident Ruth Yablonsky, pointing to the overwhelming pile of broken furniture, boxes and appliances that sat at the curb, waiting for the trucks to haul it away.
The cleanup process is scheduled to continue until all of the debris has been hauled away. Local officials say crews will begin workers at the perimeters of the town, then inward. This is being done primarily for traffic reasons, so that the trucks can navigate the cluttered streats with ease.