ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to Old Barton Road in the Town of Barton , Tioga County , damaged during the June 2006 flooding were designed to a higher standard, and may be less vulnerable to future flooding.
Thanks to a New York State and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy, extra funding is provided to mitigate against future damages to public infrastructure.
The Susquehanna River flooded due to June's torrential rains and eroded about 490 feet of the riverbank below the road, washing away the road shoulder and right of way.
"The repair of this road is important because it is the only way emergency services can access this section of town," said James "Crow" Marshall, highway superintendent in the Town of Barton . "The riprap put in place will keep the riverbank from eroding, help to prevent future flooding damages and stabilize the slope," added Marshall .
Riprap is rock placed on embankment slopes to prevent erosion.
President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for New York State as a result of the 2006 flooding.
The disaster declaration triggered the Public Assistance Program in Tioga County to reimburse government entities and certain non-profits for emergency protective measures and the repair of damaged public infrastructure.
FEMA provides 75 percent of the grant funding. The 25 percent non-federal share is funded by the state. The New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) administers the program.
A major FEMA and SEMO goal is to mitigate, where it is cost effective, when restoring damaged infrastructure so the repaired facility is better able to withstand future disaster damages. Extra money spent now can reduce future impacts and costs.
SEMO and FEMA have approved about $136,000 in road repair costs. They also approved an additional $48,000 to install the heavy stone riprap along the restored riverbank. The total project costs approximately $184,000, of which the federal share is approximately $138,000.
" Mitigation activities such as these are a smart way of doing business by spending monies now to lessen the threat to communities before an event occurs in the future," said State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, Director of SEMO.
"This is an excellent example of an investment in improvements that will pay dividends for years to come," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.