Federal officials visited Warren County on Wednesday to look at infrastructure damage from the Halloween rain and wind storm, damage that county officials believe will cost $4.5 million to repair.
Amy Drexel, the county’s emergency services coordinator, said representatives from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency were scheduled to tour damaged roads in Hague, Horicon, Bolton and Johnsburg on Wednesday, if time allowed. They were to start at Padanarum Road, where Round Pond Road washed out both sides of an approach to a bridge.
Drexel said the belief is that New York sustained enough damage to qualify for a formal disaster declaration, which would make repairs eligible for federal reimbursement of up to 75%.
The threshold is $29.6 million statewide, based on a per capita damage formula, and numerous central New York counties, such as Herkimer and Montgomery, suffered worse damage than Warren County. But a formal declaration was not expected until after FEMA completes its reviews.
Drexel said representatives of the agency were in Saratoga and Montgomery counties earlier this week to review damage there.
A rain and wind storm Oct. 31-Nov. 1 dropped an estimated 5 inches of rain in northern parts of the county in less than 18 hours and caused severe washouts on a number of mountainside roads.
Route 8 was closed for more than two days in stretches in the eastern and western parts of the county, as were nearly two dozen county and town roads for several days.
The FEMA tour came as the county Department of Public Works finished a post-storm survey of the county-owned rail corridor between North Creek and Hadley, and found at least five washouts.
County Public Works Superintendent Kevin Hajos said the repairs could amount to $500,000, with $150,000 in materials alone required. In one spot, a 30-foot embankment gave way.
“There were areas that were damaged that weren’t damaged during the 2011 storm (from Hurricane Irene),” Hajos said.
Some county supervisors questioned whether the repairs needed to be made in light of the decision made earlier this week to pursue “abandonment” of the rail line to use it as a recreational trail. But county Administrator Ryan Moore said not making repairs could present a safety issue.
“It’s still our asset,” he said.
Hajos said it was his understanding that the stretch of rails between North Creek and Tahawus, which the state is in the process of having abandoned as well, was heavily damaged as well.
Drexel said that county officials are still chronicling damage sustained by homeowners. Anyone who has not reported home damage, such as flooding or wind damage, so far should call the county Office of Emergency Services at 518-761-6490.
Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or firstname.lastname@example.org