Plan to protect Malone sewer line delayed

The crumbling building to the left of the Main Street bridge here in downtown Malone is threatening a sewer line that sits in the Salmon River below. Construction to protect the pipe, scheduled to start Tuesday, has been delayed because the water rose to a dangerous level due to warmer weather, rain and snow.

MALONE — Warmer weather has delayed start of an ambitious project in the Village of Malone to protect the main sewer line from a crumbling building above.

The abandoned structure at 395 West Main St., on the north side of the road, is threatening to collapse into the Salmon River, which is right where the 20-inch sewer main sits.

Snowmelt, recent rain and snowfall have swelled the river, making it too precarious for Department of Public Works crews to start work, which was scheduled for Tuesday, said Deputy Mayor Joe Riccio.

He said DPW and village officials looked at the site Monday to be sure things were still on track but decided the situation was too dangerous to move ahead.


Riccio said there is no new timetable for the project start.

“It depends. Mother Nature’s in charge of it now,” he said. “When the water gets to a safe level, we’ll proceed.”

Officials posted lighted warning signs on the outskirts of the village last week, warning residents and travelers of changing traffic patterns through downtown for a few days.

The plan includes a large crane parked in the lane closest to 395 Main, lowering huge slabs of concrete to the work site below.

When work does begin, about 90 yards of crushed stone will be poured on top of the exposed pipe, then the concrete slabs set on top to deflect any falling debris from the building should it let go, as engineers predict.

A staging area for the needed materials has been created in the parking lot of the former Villa Fiore Restaurant, and concrete barriers have been placed along nearly two blocks of downtown sidewalk to rein in any falling debris and keep pedestrians away.


The nine-story building at 395 West Main St. was condemned by the village, and an engineering report suggests the structure is in imminent danger of collapse because the east-facing wall is bowed out several feet.

That leaves main support beams on each floor held up only by loose bricks in some spots.

Village officials are working on a solution with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Franklin County Emergency Services and the County Highway Department.

Village Board members say they are taking on the problem to protect residents and as an economic-development decision to rid Malone of dangerous eyesores that drive property values down on neighboring parcels.

Email Denise A. Raymo:

Twitter: @DeniseRaymo

Denise A. Raymo has been a newspaper reporter for more than 25 years, the past 14 in the Malone bureau of the Press-Republican. Her reporting has been been recognized by both Associated Press and New York Publishers Association throughout her career.

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