By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — Lower Park Street was open less than 24 hours before officials had to close it again due to flooding.
A state of emergency was declared Tuesday morning, until further notice, by Town Supervisor Howard Maneely, covering the area from 100 Lower Park to the three-way intersection with Brand and Shears roads.
He said the declaration was made because the extremely cold weather and rising water are endangering humans, animals and properties.
Town Highway Superintendent Tom Shanty said his crews were pushing the water and ice-snow mixture of frazil ice off the street, “but it’s a losing battle.
“We’re trying to create a channel for the water to go, but there is so much ice still in there,” he said as he watched his crews work a Gradall and front-end loader.
“It’s built back up with slush, and we’re just working to try to keep the water off the road.
“I knew it was going to happen again,” Shanty said of the flooded roadway. “It was only a matter of time. We’re trying to make a dike with the ice so the water has somewhere to go.”
It was two weeks ago Wednesday that a 4,000-foot ice jam formed behind 181 Lower Park and choked off the Salmon River, forcing water 4 feet deep over backyards at several homes in the 300 block of the street.
Many houses were evacuated as the river freely flowed down the roadway, crossing into front yards on the east side of the street and flooding basements there as well.
Franklin County Emergency Services tried using sandbags to keep the river at bay at some homes but gave up that and any efforts to pump out cellars because the floodwater was rising dangerously fast.
The ice, 3 to 4 feet thick in many places, covered the roadway at one point.
A garage at 353 Lower Park was torn from its foundation, and it and the adjacent home may be condemned by Town Code Enforcement Officer Robert Crossman.
A driver attempted to drive a car off Mattimore Road onto Lower Park, but the vehicle became stuck and was gradually frozen in place when temperatures plunged below zero.
Bottled water was supplied to impacted homeowners to the south of the ice jam, families who were able to stay in their homes but were left dealing with compromised wells and septic systems.
By the end of last week, the Village Board had agreed to waive the roughly $2,000 connection fees and allow certain homeowners to tap into the municipal-water system that feeds the three state prisons off Brand Road and Bare Hill Road.
Meters will be installed at the homes to track the volume of water used, and the homeowners will be charged for it quarterly.
Email Denise A. Raymo: firstname.lastname@example.org