Dubuque Bee Branch project update - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Bee Branch project update

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Despite obstacles, a major project continues to move forward in the area. It's the Bee Branch project in Dubuque, where crews are working tirelessly to take down more than 50 properties along a proposed storm water basin. From the beginning the project has hoped to be sustainable and there are several guidelines required of contractors. Some of those guidelines are in question.

The city asked for bids on several properties.  Bids were accepted based on an agreement to divert materials from the landfill and instead reuse or recycle them. But it's that very rule that's open to interpretation. And as KWWL learned, each company is interpreting it differently.

There no doubt that deconstructing a house is a lot of work. And there's not doubt at one point or another, it looks like a huge mess.

But in the Bee Branch District, what's supposed to be sustainable deconstruction, looks very different from house to house.

"Where the guidelines are gray is how do you define reuse," Civil Engineer Deron Muehring said.

Gronen Restoration systematically takes the house down from top to bottom.

"And you actually salvage lumber for reuse as lumber," Muehring said.

The second company, Stackis, is relatively new to deconstruction and learning how to save materials.

But the third company, Tschiggfrie Excavating is very different.

"They are more, they come from the demolition side of things. What they do is go inside and strip the house of most of the salvageable material. And then end up with basically a frame," Muehring said.

Then the frame is demolished, chipped up and sent to Cassville, Wisconsin, where it's burned to help fuel an energy plant.

"We try to put out our baseline of what we expect and then we kind of leave it up to them and hopefully they can come up with creative ways of meeting our specs," Muehring said.

And each company is meeting the cities specifications. However there was never a clear indication of how to meet the specs. Either way, Muehring says they're accomplishing a lot. And paving the way for the future.

"The whole goal is so that people are aware the deconstruction is an option," Muehring said.

The city admits they have learned a lot in the process. If anything they've opened up the door better guidelines in the future. And perhaps a more clear definition of the word reuse.  As of last week 27 properties were down and all but four had been started.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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