A stretch of state highway 17 remains closed today after 2 straight days of flash flooding in our area.
Since Sunday night our area has been pummeled with torrential downpours on and off. River gauges are getting their workout going up and down, but not nearing dangerous levels despite the drastic fluctuations.
Since yesterday morning all state highway traffic that’s wanted to travel through Tioga County has had to get off the highway between Exit 62 in Nichols and Exit 63 in Lounsbury. The East River Road detour has been 3 miles of solid traffic in each direction on a two lane residential road with no shoulder, and dangerously near the Susquehanna River bank in some parts. It’s not meant to handle this kind of traffic, yet the bridges that pass over the Wappasening Creek in both directions remain closed due to foundation damage. Experts say at least a few days will be needed for the water levels to go down, for proper assessment to take place and work to be done.
The Governor has dispatched state aid in the form of 39 staff, and a small army of heavy equipment to Broome and Tioga Counties to assist with cleanup.
Town of Tioga Supervisor Lou Zorn is asking for no unnecessary travel. The following road are closed:
Neiger Hollow Road
Diamond Valley Road (bridges already closed for replacement)
Dry Brook Road
Meanwhile, the frustration level in Vestal remains high. Since 2006, Vestal has been seeking permission to remove a river blockage of fallen trees but the DEC won’t allow it.
State guidelines state that municipalities are not allowed to make changes that would affect the environment. Vestal town supervisor John Schaffer says they have the manpower to do it, and all of the necessary resources to do it, just not the state’s permission. The town plans to continue working with the state, but is hoping to get some of these regulations lifted as soon as possible.
But as of right now, the state has no plans to make any changes.