UPDATED: Route 8 re-opens in Hague, Horicon, Johnsburg

UPDATED: Route 8 re-opens in Hague, Horicon, Johnsburg

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The state Department of Transportation reopened two closed sections of Route 8 in Warren County on Monday, as cleanup continues from last week’s destructive rain and windstorm and efforts pick up to seek federal disaster aid.

Hundreds woke up Monday without electricity, as National Grid’s website showed about 400 customers in Warren, Saratoga and Essex counties without power early Monday, but all but 40 had power back on as of mid-afternoon.

Road repairs were the main storm-related issue as of Monday afternoon, with many roads in northern Warren County remaining closed because of flood damage, including Route 8 between Horicon and Hague, where runoff from Graphite Mountain tore through pavement in several areas. New Hague Road and West Hague Road in Hague remained closed as well as Thirteenth Lake Road in Johnsburg, where flood damage was heavy.

With repairs ongoing around the north end of Warren County as well as much of Essex and parts of Saratoga counties, regional emergency management officials were working to document the damage to make an application for federal disaster aid.

Bryan Viggiani, a spokesman for the DOT, said the agency planned to get traffic moving again on Route 8 between Hague and Horicon and near the Warren and Hamilton counties line Monday, but work will continue for the foreseeable future.

The temporary repairs will consist of a gravel surface until pavement can be put atop it, he said.

“Our priority is to get traffic flowing as best we can while we finish up the work,” Viggiani said.

There will be lane and speed restrictions in places.

Amy Drexel, Warren County’s emergency services coordinator, said public works crews and utility workers labored through the weekend.

“They have been making progress,” she said. “But as flood waters are going down, we are seeing some areas where there is more damage.”

Warren County Public Works Superintendent Kevin Hajos said it was hoped that West Hague Road and Trout Brook Road would re-open within the next couple of days, but New Hague Road will likely remain closed through the week.

There are also a number of roads in Hague, Johnsburg, Chester, Schroon, North Hudson and Bolton where damage will require indefinite lane closures.

Hague Supervisor Edna Frasier said all but one resident of the closed roads was able to get past the detours. The one resident who was cut off had an all-terrain vehicle to bypass damaged West Hague Road, Frasier explained.

One home on West Hague Road had Hague Brook course over the road into the home.

“Everywhere we went Friday, the damage just seemed worse and worse,” she said. “We just feel lucky that no one was hurt.”

She said the Ticonderoga Central School District was forced to change its bus routes and have some children picked up in the hamlet of Hague this week.

Trout Brook and Hague Brook, both of which flow from Graphite Mountain, caused the most damage as they careened downhill along and across roads.

Jean Turcotte, whose Trout Brook Road home sits just east of the brook, said she had seen the stream run higher only once before — after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

“It was really roaring,” she said.

It had dropped well below flood level on Monday, but the Schroon River remains above flood stage, and a flood warning is in effect until Wednesday morning.

Drexel said Warren County is hoping the repairs will qualify for federal disaster aid, which would reimburse 75 percent of repair costs to the towns and county. The county will easily surpass the threshold it needs of just under $300,000 in damage, but the statewide damage will have to surpass $29 million for the storm to qualify, she explained.

More rain is forecast for Monday night and Tuesday, but no significant amount is expected. Snow is possible Thursday.

Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or dlehman@poststar.com


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