Roxbury still assessing flood damage

By Pauline Liu
While Tropical Storm Irene did not cause as much devastation in Roxbury as she did to neighboring municipalities, the town did not go unscathed. The repairs will be costly.

Floodwaters transformed Main Street into a river, deposited mud into storefronts, and caused the destruction of roads and streams, as well as a bridge. At its September 12 meeting, the Roxbury Town Board assessed the extent of the damage and discussed preliminary costs of repairs, which have so far run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

According to Roxbury Highway Superintendent Steve Schuman, the cost of cleaning-up storm damage to local streams has so far totaled $148,000. A private contractor is doing the work. The town has obtained the required Stream Bank Disturbance Permit from the DEC (State Department of Environmental Conservation), in order to get the work done. Schuman told the board that the stream cleanup needs to be completed by September 30, in order to ensure that the work does not interfere with the trout spawning season.

Board Member and Fire Chief Al Hinkley pointed out that Stratton Falls Road has washed out. Schuman explained that very preliminary estimates put repair costs at around $60,000. “That was a slide from the bottom down,” said Hinkley. The portion of the road before the falls was scoured away by violent floodwaters. “To repair it, heavy stone fill will need to be stacked on top of one another like a stone wall,” said Schuman.

An engineering study to repair the flood ravaged Shephard Lane Bridge could cost as much as $27,500. The bridge is located off county Route 41, not far from the The Roxbury Motel’s newest additions. The board voted unanimously to hire the Babylon, Long Island-based engineering consulting firm Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. to do the study. Delaware County Public Works Commissioner Wayne Reynolds referred the company to the board.

“No question in my mind, something has to be done about that little bridge,” said Town Supervisor Tom Hynes.

“We anticipate that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) might help out this time,” said Schuman.

The highway superintendent identified the three most storm ravaged roads as Bed Hollow Road, Dave Stewart Road and George Lawrence Road, which he explained are located in Vega Valley.

“Hopefully before the first snow flies, we’ll get it done,’’ said Schuman. “Better hurry,” responded Supervisor Hynes, which caused other board members to chuckle. 

“Dave Stewart Road always washes out,” said Schuman. “I don’t know if machinery can get up there without getting stuck.” The meeting was attended by a handful of residents, including one from Dugan Hill Road, who gave the highway superintendent high praise. “Steve deserves considerable credit on Dugan Hill  Road,” said John Wilson. “It performed like a champ.”

In other news, since Roxbury’s Labor Day Weekend celebrations were canceled, MARK Project Executive Director Peg Ellsworth said the donations received for the event will be returned to the donors.