National Guard and shock crews work to repair roads in Upper Jay.
The Essex County Department of Public Works committee Sept. 19 took time to assess the work that had been done around the area since Tropical Storm Irene hit the region Aug. 28.
“We have made a lot of progress on the roads that need repair,” Deputy Manager Robert Levielle said. “We are getting the dangerous things caught up, and completed and we are now into the things that will take a longer term to get done.”
“The amount of work that has been accomplished since the night of this storm has been unbelieveable,” Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said.
Levielle said that there are currently eight bridges that are in need of replacement, with more bridges scheduled for inspection.
“We have eight no-brainers where the bridge is just gone,” Levielle said. “We are in the middle of the inspection activities right now.”
Scozzafava said that he was concerned that the bridge in Moriah Center may have to be closed down, and said that he would hope they could do repairs one lane at a time.
“It is one of the major roadways in Essex County,” Scozzafava said. “It would affect a lot of businesses along the road and detours would be many miles. These businesses would not be able to survive.”
Levielle said that there was also displacement in the county, where people who worked in the Public Health Department had to be moved out of their basement offices because of flooding.
“There was extensive damage to the fish hatchery,” Levielle said. “We have had a contractor there looking at it.”
Board Chairman Randall “Randy” Douglas also said that the county needs to look into shoring up brooks and rivers before the spring.
“The flows of these rivers and brooks have changed dramatically,” Douglas said. “It’s to the point where just a little bit of water will cause flooding. If we wait until the ice jams in the spring to do something, I will lose half of my town.”
During the meeting, both Douglas and Keene Supervisor William “Bill” Ferebee thanked members of the board and staff for their help in two of the towns hit hardest by the wrath of Tropical Storm Irene.
“I want to thank all of those who have offered their help and called with their support in the past month,” Ferebee said.
“The support that we have gotten has been unbelievable,” Douglas said. “This has been the most trying and emotional time in my life, besides losing a family member.”
“You drive around and see the damage, and it is amazing that we did not lose any citizens in Essex County,” Levielle said. “The crews have down a phenomenal job.”