Neighbors help Thurman residents stranded by road washouts, highway employees work on road repairs

THURMAN -- Local residents walked through raging knee-deep waters in road washouts Sunday to deliver groceries to stranded neighbors while others hiked into homes isolated by floodwaters to check on the infirm and elderly -- as dozens of highway employees worked around the clock to restore roads.

The washouts on virtually every road in town, along with destroyed bridges prompted town Supervisor Evelyn Wood to declare a State of Emergency Saturday afternoon.

Warren County Emergency Services Director Brian LaFlure said Sunday that about 100 highway workers from towns across the Warren County were deployed where needed in the county -- many of them in Thurman -- to haul gravel and help make temporary repairs. He said the aim is to get at least one lane of washed-out roadways reopened, so stranded citizens can get food and medicine -- and allow access, if needed, by emergency vehicles.

He said a number of private road-building contractors were called in to help make the repairs, and that Peckham Materials in Chestertown opened their plant so they could provide gravel and stone as needed.

"Our entire force is out -- we have every man available at work repairing the damage," he said late-morning Sunday. "It's hard to rebuild now, however, because a lot of the washouts still have water streaming through them."

LaFlure confirmed that the Don Potter Bridge and the Combs Road Bridge were both washed away, and total road washouts were scattered through town.

"It's our priority at this point to get dead-end roads and total washouts passable for emergency vehicles."

He said that in many places, culverts 6 to 8 feet in diameter had been washed out and ripped up by floodwaters.

"We're dealing with major issues," he said.

LaFlure said shortly after noon Sunday that highway workers had reopened one lane of Garnet Lake Road which had endured major washouts which had stranded many in the northern end of Thurman.

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