A bridge and two road segments in the Mohawk Valley reopened late Wednesday, marking substantial completion of all road and bridge repairs a month after devastating flooding caused heavy damage to the region’s transportation system.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said while state Route 80 in Fort Plain, state Route 51 along the Ilion Gorge and state Route 171 along the Frankfort Gorge reopened to traffic, repairs will continue during the day at these locations. He also said state Route 168 in Herkimer County has been partially opened to traffic since July 17 allowing for a single lane of alternating traffic. All work will be completed by the end of August, he said.
“Since floods devastated the Mohawk Valley, I promised the state would be there to help affected communities recover and return to normal,” said Cuomo. “Today, our transportation system is once again safe for motorists and mobility has been restored through the region, and we are one step closer to bringing these communities back.”
Heavy rains and thunderstorms over a series of days led to significant flooding on June 27 and 28 across the Mohawk Valley, specifically in Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery and Oneida counties. Floodwaters washed away roads and damaged several bridges.
At the height of flooding, 26 roads and bridges were closed to traffic, including long-term closures of six roads and three bridges due to extensive damage. For several days, 14 damage assessment crews worked to evaluate 760 segments of highway and 253 bridges to inspect for damage and determine whether or not they were safe for traffic.
More than 300 state Department of Transportation maintenance and construction workers from across New York responded to the storm, with 318 pieces of equipment.
“I am extremely proud of our road and bridge crews who traveled from across the state and worked hard through long days joined by our construction industry partners in order to restore critical components of the transportation infrastructure in the Mohawk Valley. I thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership during the crisis, organizing a coordinated response among state agencies and local communities and securing funds for recovery,” said state DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.
Construction on Route 80 included road and shoulder repairs, stream restoration and work to the bridge between Fort Plain and Minden. Massive soil washouts had caused the pavement approaching the bridge to buckle, but did not damage the concrete or steel of the bridge foundation. Crews filled soil, armored the embankments, re-established the stream channel and replaced the concrete and pavement on both approaches to the bridge.
Portions of Route 51 in Ilion and Route 171 in Frankfort were washed away by floodwaters. Work includes pavement and shoulder repairs and steam restoration. The two roads are open to traffic, but repairs will continue until the end of August.