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Progress under way rebuilding Warren County’s roads

The Warren County paving crew works mid-summer to repair Library Avenue in Warrensburg. This in-house paving team is credited for saving taxpayers many thousands of dollars, as well as fast completion of work rebuilding roads from the summer’s devastating storms.

The Warren County paving crew works mid-summer to repair Library Avenue in Warrensburg. This in-house paving team is credited for saving taxpayers many thousands of dollars, as well as fast completion of work rebuilding roads from the summer’s devastating storms. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Warren County Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Tennyson glanced out a window at the county Municipal Center at sunny blue skies.

“If the weather stays like this through Mid-December, we’ll be in good shape,” he quipped.

For several months, the county has endured storms more violent and damaging than has been experienced in the region for hundreds of years.

Warren County’s roads —which suffered considerable damage from the heavy Memorial Day weekend rains, then three months later from Tropical Storm Irene — will be safe and sound by this winter, Tennyson predicted Monday Sept. 26.

Damage to county and town government infrastructure, including roadways and bridges, totalled about $13 million for Memorial Day weekend alone, according to county Emergency Services Coordinator Amy Drexel. Federal financial help for these damages has been rejected, but is still under discussion.

County highways, totalling 247 miles, suffered more than $5 million in damages from both storms, Tennyson said. Most all damage was created by swollen streams that turned into raging rivers and washed out culverts and roadways.

Most of the damage has been repaired, either temporarily or permanently. The county has documented $4 million in damage from the historic Memorial Day weekend storms, in which 7 inches of rain fell in several hours. Most of the damage occurred in Thurman, Causing $7 million in damage there to the town’s local roadways. Tropical Storm Irene caused another $1 million in damages to the town roads, Thurman town Supervisor Evelyn Wood said.

In rebuilding roadways and bridges from that storm, county crews worked for five weeks to help Thurman’s highway crew, Tennyson said. These four county crews worked long hours, adjusting their schedules and tasks as the weather events occurred, he said.

The follow-up assault by Irene delayed some repairs and routine paving that had been resumed by county highway crews after the storm response. It also disrupted the scheduling of contractors to repair infrastructure, Tennyson said.

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