Hurricane Irma

Client: 25 Clients throughout 7 Counties

Service: Disaster Debris Removal


25 Clients throughout 7 Counties: Broward, Highlands, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia

PJE Role

Prime Disaster Debris Removal Contractor

Date Completed

April 2018

Project description

Hurricane Irma followed closely on Hurricane Harvey’s heels, threatening U.S. soil only two weeks later. Hurricane Irma was the strongest Atlantic storm outside of the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea on record, with peak winds of 185 mph. Irma is also the only tropical cyclone on record worldwide to have had winds that intense for so long, having maintained peak intensity for 37 consecutive hours.

In the days leading up to Hurricane Irma’s landfall there was not much certainty about the path she would take, and all of South Florida was on high alert with evacuation warnings for coastal communities on both the east and west coasts. The massive storm ended up making U.S. landfall in Cudjoe Key of the Florida Keys as a Category 4 early on September 10 and then again a few hours later as a Category 3 in Marco Island, in Southwest Florida. Hurricane Irma continued north through Florida, steadily weakening before losing tropical characteristics in Georgia two days later. continued north through Florida, steadily weakening before losing tropical characteristics in Georgia two days later.  

PJE's Contribution

In response to Hurricane Irma’s Florida landfall and widespread impacts, 25 of P&J’s pre-positioned contracts were activated in seven Florida counties (Broward, Highlands, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia) to assist with emergency road clearance and debris removal, reduction and disposal resulting. During the next four months, P&J collected over 3 million CYs of vegetative debris and over 60,000 CYs of construction and demolition (C&D) debris from a combination of public, private and federal right-of-ways (ROWs) and waterways, as well as from various parks and facilities statewide.

P&J also managed the establishment and operation of 22 debris management sites (DMS) throughout the State of Florida, which reduced the vegetative debris either by grinding down to mulch or burning to save space in local landfills. Based on the specific priorities of our clients, mulch was then taken to final disposal or dedicated for beneficial re-use by spreading the mulch on local agricultural fields or taking it to a power facility to be utilized for woody bio-mass fuel.

Project Highlights

CY Veg




Hazardous Trees


Hazardous Limbs


Hazardous Stumps

P&J assisted several jurisdictions with their hazardous leaner/hanger/stump programs, which involved the removal of 3,310 hazardous trees, 55,927 hazardous limbs, and 329 stumps. 

In total, P&J secured a total of 868 hauling units to complete our contracted work on time and based on the rates in our existing contracts, while other contractors were abandoning pre-established pricing and lobbying their clients for higher rates in an effort to lure hauling resources to their projects. Despite the challenges stemming from the volatile market caused by Hurricane Irma’s widespread impact and immediate demand by multiple prime contractors for a finite number of resources throughout the State, P&J maintained our timeline and pricing commitments to both our clients and our subcontractors on all of our activated contracts in Hurricane Irma’s wake. 

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