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New Bridge Prevents Flood Damage

ELLICOTTVILLE, NY - The configuration of the Martha Street Bridge abutments and channel caused floodwaters to spill into Ellicottville during repeated flood events. By replacing the one-lane bridge with a two-lane bridge and altering the abutments and channel to allow for greater water flow, the amount of backwater was reduced and flooding was alleviated.

Funded under FEMA’s Housing Mitigation Grant Program with matching funds from Cattaraugus County, the replacement of the Martha Street Bridge reduced future flood potential throughout the Village of Ellicottville. Prior to this mitigation action, requests for FEMA and Small Business Association (SBA) assistance were received on a regular basis. Damage to 51 residential and 20 commercial properties at over $125,000 were reported annually.

The new two-lane bridge accommodates greater traffic flow and provides pedestrian access. Removing the channel restrictions south of the confluence caused by the bridge reduces the potential for backwater overflow and widened bridge abutments allow more flood water to pass under the bridge, ensuring emergency access throughout the Village during floods.

The new Martha Street Bridge has been in place during two floods that previously would have resulted in residential and commercial flooding. To date, the Village has not experienced flood damages due to a back up of water at this structure.

The reduction in the amount of backwater may have a beneficial impact to the adjacent floodplain, and as a result new flood maps are now being processed. Estimates indicate that the project cost will be completely recouped following the next disaster.

Last updated June 3, 2020