ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to a bridge across Newton Creek in the Village of Bainbridge, Chenango 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.
June’s torrential rainfall washed away the creek’s east embankment at Bixby Street and compromised the bridge.
The concrete barricades temporarily in place for safety will be removed to build a bridge better suited for withstanding harsh weather conditions explained Jeff Webb, supervisor at the Town of Bainbridge Department of Public Works. Webb noted that the new bridge would eliminate a dead end street that is not traveled a great deal and not easy to access. “It will be a lot more convenient for fire and fuel trucks to gain access to this area,” he said.
President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for New York State as a result of the 2006 flooding.
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 approved $222,000 to replace the bridge, added $60,000 to widen the waterway at the bridge site, and install a pre-cast, concrete, rigid frame bridge with a 28-foot span. The United States Army Corps of Engineers and village are working together to line the creek’s banks and bottom with heavy stone fill.
These measures are designed to improve flood stage water flow through the Newton Creek corridor and make the improved bridge less likely to be a debris dam during flooding. The total project costs approximately $282,000, of which the federal share is approximately $211,400.
“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.