FEMA: Chenango damage estimates top $600,000

CHENANGO COUNTY – Local, state and federal emergency management officials now estimate that more than $600,000 worth of damage was done to local and county roads in the areas of Chenango County hardest hit by severe storms over the last few weeks.

“It appears that we’re going to get a disaster declaration,” reported Matt Beckwith, deputy director of Chenango County’s Emergency Management Office.

On Monday, Beckwith accompanied investigators from FEMA and the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) on a tour of Oxford, Coventry and Greene, the three southern Chenango townships which sustained the most significant damage from flash flooding during the recent storms. The contingent also included Chenango County Director of Public Works Randy Gibbon, Norwich Emergency Management Officer A. Wesley Jones and highway superintendents from each of the three towns.

What they found between those municipalities and damage to the county highway system were sufficient to well exceed Chenango’s disaster threshold of $160,000, Beckwith said.

“Probably a third of (the $600,000 estimate) is on the highway system,” reported Gibbon.

One of the hardest hit is County Road 38 in the Town of Guilford, between its intersection with Depot Street and County Road 35. According to the county highway head, debris from the storms on Aug. 9 and 10 filled in inlet structures, blowing out pavement and washing out the shoulder. His department is working with other agencies to not just repair the damage, but to provide a long-term solution to the problem by building a detention structure uphill, he said, to prevent similar episodes in the future.

County Road 3 in the Town of Oxford also sustained substantial damage near its terminus on Route 12. While crews were able to reopen the road to traffic shortly after the first storm, their fix was temporary, Gibbon explained, as they waited to obtain permits from the Underground Facilities Protective Organization (UFPO) needed to address subsurface issues.

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