ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to a section of Gulf Road in Rome, Oneida 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.
Torrential rainfall in June washed out embankments above the road and caused a culvert under the road to fail resulting in widespread damage to the road.
“The water took this culvert right out,” said George Ferguson, a Rome highway engineer. “You can’t really tell now because of the snow, but the drop is about 40 feet. This bridge here is temporary so the snowmobilers can go over, but the new one will be for everyone.”
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 Oneida 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.
In addition to paying for roadway repair on Gulf Road, the project also funded installation of an improved, pre-cast concrete culvert. The extra mitigation measures cost approximately $121,000 and brought the total project cost to about $513,000, of which the federal share was approximately $385,000.
“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.