OXFORD – The mighty Chenango rose perilously close under State Street Bridge in Oxford last Thursday, a bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient by the federal highway administration for years.
Chenango County was lucky that neither Hurricane Irene nor the remnants of tropical storm Lee took out the village’s main artery or many other bridges for that matter.
Only four bridges were closed as the waters rose late last week, including the Hogsback Road Bridge that spans the Chenango River in Greene, the state Rt. 23 bridge over Unadilla River in New Berlin, and Brooksbank at Cousins roads and Buckley Hollow Road bridges, both in Oxford.
Prior to Irene, the Federal Highway Administration had already identified 354 structurally deficient bridges in the Southern Tier, including 23 in Chenango County. Heavier trucks and overdue maintenance is to blame, according to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, who, in a press call last week, said Irene had destroyed 15 bridges in upstate New York and pushed many that were already structurally deficient into even greater disrepair.