ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to Franzen Road in the Town of Richmondville, Schoharie 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 rains partially plugged a culvert that runs under the road with debris. This caused the water to run over the road, leaving road and ditch damage in its wake.
“We have a temporary conduit drain pipe there now,” says Highway Superintendent Keith Alheiser, “but we need to get started with the bigger new culvert. The new one will solve a couple of problems: the volume problem, and the internal water routing problem. This one will be straight through.”
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 Schoharie 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 $77,000 in road, road ditch and culvert repair costs. They also approved an additional $5,000 to replace the existing 30-inch by 75-foot long culvert with a 42-inch, 75-foot long culvert. The goal of the bigger culvert is to reduce the chance that debris will clog the culvert in future flooding events. The total project costs approximately $82,000, of which the federal share is approximately $61,500.
“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.