ALBANY, NY – Repairs to Mallet Hill Road in the Town of Stratford, Fulton County, damaged during the June 2006 flooding were designed to a higher standard. Using the higher standard may have made them 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 destroyed twin, 42-inch by 42-foot culverts running under the road. This forced flood waters over the road and washed out pavement 20 feet wide, 50 feet long, and four inches deep.
“My deputy and I were here at midnight, me on one side and him on the other, stopping traffic because the bridge was washing out. It was just too much volume for those culverts,” recalls Bob Stalmacher, Stratford Highway Superintendent. “The new one will be much bigger and will prevent this kind of problem.”
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 Fulton 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 $63,400 in road-repair costs. They also approved an additional $61,600 to replace the destroyed culverts with a 154-inch-wide by 40-feet-long box culvert with a rise of 100 inches. The bigger culvert will reduce the chance that debris will clog the culvert should another flood occur. The total project costs approximately $125,000, of which the federal share is approximately $94,000.
“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.