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Warren Co. roads need up to $1.8 million in storm repairs

It may cost up to $1.8 million to repair the damage to Warren County-owned roads caused by the Halloween rainstorm that ripped across the state as towns around the county grapple with bills for damage to their infrastructure as well.

County supervisors agreed Thursday to prepare to bond to $1.8 million for reconstruction in case the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency does not approve reimbursement for the damage. FEMA reimbursement of 75 percent of repair costs would come if the state meets a damage threshold that was believed to have been met.

Roads in the northern and western parts of the county sustained severe damage during the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 storm that brought more than 5 inches to parts of the Adirondacks in less than eight hours. Runoff that raced down hills and mountains tore into roads in Hague, Horicon, Johnsburg, Chester, Thurman, Bolton and Stony Creek.

Warren County Public Works Superintendent Kevin Hajos said a total for the repairs that will be needed to county highways was still being determined. He said it could be less than $1.8 million, and federal reimbursement could defray the impact on the county budget.

“That’s in case we don’t get FEMA money,” said Robert Lynch, the county’s deputy treasurer.

The biggest county project is a rebuilding of 13th Lake Road in Johnsburg that will include a bridge replacement.

Hajos said the county plans to rent a temporary bridge for a few months before a permanent one can be built as part of a reconstruction.

Johnsburg Supervisor Andrea Hogan said her town’s estimate is between $300,000 and $400,000, but “new information (about damage) is coming in every day.” She said all town roads that were closed have been reopened with temporary repairs.

A detour has been set up on 13th Lake Road around the section where a bridge is out, which allows access for residents and businesses.

“Thirteenth Lake Road is really important for Garnet Hill Lodge as they head into their busiest time of the year,” she said.

Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett said his town’s damaged roads will need about $300,000 in work to recover.

“We’re still working on some of the repairs, but they are all open,” he said.

Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson said damage in Horicon will require at least $200,000 in materials alone, plus costs of town crews to make the repairs. He said the worst off were Shaw Hill Road, Grassville Road and Padanarum Road. All have been reopened, but more work will be needed next spring and summer.

In all, Warren County emergency services officials estimated the county’s roads and other infrastructure suffered about $4.5 million in damage from the storm.

Statewide, damage totaled over $33 million, and state officials formally asked FEMA for reimbursement late last month. Damage occurred in 18 counties, and more than 100 state highways were damaged as well as county, town and village roads.

Warren County residents did not suffer enough damage to personal property for a FEMA claim for reimbursement under the “individual assistance program,” but the state has asked for aid under that program for residents of Essex, Hamilton, Oneida and Herkimer counties.