Federal aid to pay for road repairs

The Federal Highway Administration will provide $5 million to pay for repairs to roads in the state that recently were damaged by flooding, including roads in Fort Plain.

U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, after speaking with federal Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, announced the money will help state, local and municipal governments rebuild roads and highways that were damaged in flooding.

In late June, floodwaters from the the Otsquago Creek severely damaged roads, businesses and houses in Fort Plain and areas around the village. The flooding killed an elderly woman in the village, which is still recovering from the extensive damage.

The funding is expected to target roads such as Route 51, Route 168, Route 5, Route 80, and highway and pedestrian bridges over the Otsquago Creek.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Adam Schwabrow said aid is most needed for Route 80, just north of Fort Plain.

“That was completely washed out. I mean there were parts of that road where there were curves that are just gone now,” Schwabrow said. “[The money] is definitely going to help repair that.”

At least two bridges in the Fort Plain area also were damaged.

Schwabrow said other streets, such as Abbott Street, will have to be leveled and repaved.

He said a bike-path bridge was damaged as well as Clinton Avenue Extension.

Mayor Guy Barton said this morning the village roads are heavily damaged.

Barton said residents are unable to exit the village to the south because of damage to the Route 80 bridge.

He said the infrastructure along Abbott Street also was damaged.

“There is no water, no sewer, no road, no nothing,” Barton said.

He also said Dairy Street was washed out and work is being done to the Route 163 bridge, including installing supports beneath the roadway.

“The $5 million is a plus to our area. However, with the amount of bridge work, I don’t know if that will be enough,” Barton said. “I don’t believe it will cover it, but it will be a good start anyway.”

According to a news release, the funding is part of the Federal Highway Administration Quick Release Emergency Relief Program, which provides money for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

Schumer and Gillibrand said in the release the funding will be used in counties where New York state requested a federal disaster declaration, including Montgomery County. Specific uses will be determined by U.S. Department of Transportation and New York state.

“These heavy storms and floods swept away roads and bridges all the way from the Adirondacks to the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier,” Gillibrand said in the news release.

By -