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The Telegram
  • Rt. 5 closed due to winter weather flooding

  • A clash between stubborn winter weather and impatient spring temperatures came at the expense of Mohawk Valley motorists Thursday.

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  • A clash between stubborn winter weather and impatient spring temperatures came at the expense of Mohawk Valley motorists Thursday.
    Drivers were forced to find detours after an ice jam caused a section of Bridenbecker Creek to spill onto State Route 5; resulting in a portion of the major thoroughfare being closed.
    At around noon, New York State Department of Transportation workers placed signs at Newport Road in the town of Schuyler restricting traffic to local residents only. And shortly thereafter a small section of Route 5 was closed just past Millers Grove Road.
    Vehicles were redirected either across Dyke Road onto Route 5S toward Route 51, or locals used North Frankfort Bridge passing through the village of Frankfort, according to Paul Obernesser, DOT regional director of operations.
    A mixture of mild temperatures and rain caused the flooding. Ice built up in the stream jammed the flow of water through the twin box culvert bridge, which normally allows the creek to pass under Route 5, he explained in a phone interview.
    Fortunately lower temperatures over night would provide some relief from more overflow. But it is “very possible” the flooding will reoccur once the mercury rises, according to Obernesser. It depends on “how quickly the ice melts,” he added.
    Schuyler Town Supervisor Kenneth Dodge said in a phone interview the culvert has been a “sore spot for several years.”
    “[The Town Board] has complained about the flooding a few times...asking [the state] for a larger culvert pipe here a few years ago,” Dodge said.
    The DOT was in the process of acquiring a backhoe from Syracuse to break up some of the ice, and hoped to have the roads open as soon as possible, Obernesser said in the early evening. “This tends to happen when you have a lot of snow fall in a winter,” he added.
    German Flatts Town Supervisor Frank Spatto in a phone interview said German Flatts can relate to being at the mercy of ice.
    While the township waits for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to return a plan to improve ice flow in Fulmer Creek, Spatto said roughly one-in-five spring thaws cause flooding of varying degrees.
    Being reduced to “a roll of the dice,” Spatto said, “We’ve lost big time in the past...[but] this year Fulmer Creek went out without any problem...the ice came out without any headaches.”
    Unable to do much even with equipment before a certain point of the initial thaw, he added, “The action it took was to pray, and afterwards it was amen.”
     
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