By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO April 8, 2005 The state road system took a heavy hit over the weekend.
Dean Smith, assistant resident engineer for the New York State Department of Transportations (DOT) Monticello office, said Wednesday that one section of Route 97 wont be open until sometime next week, while Route 42 in South Fallsburg may not be open until the summer.
The South Fallsburg spot, where water undermined the roadway, is going to require the replacement of an entire culvert, Smith said.
Were trying to design one quickly, he noted. Hopefully we will be able to get [the project] done within three months.
Were going to really emphasize getting this done, he continued. I travel that route myself . . . so I know.
Currently traffic is being rerouted onto LaVista Drive, down Pleasant Valley Road onto County Route 52.
Route 97, which remains closed because of a rock slide in the Town of Cochecton, should be reopened much more quickly, Smith said, because damage was not as extensive. In fact, a section near Pond Eddy was able to be reopened on Tuesday.
Still, there are boulders the size of vehicles in the roadway in Cochecton, and those will have to be blasted by an emergency contractor, then the site will have to be reviewed before reopening.
We will have to take a look at the slope and see if its safe before we open it back up, Smith explained.
The emergency contractor has been called in to help take pressure off the DOT crews which have been working since the weekend on many of the states major arteries through Sullivan County.
Were spread pretty thin with our own forces right now trying to make things safe, Smith said.
Work on Route 209 in Westbrookville is another major focus for the DOT.
There the stream jumped its banks again, undermining some of the roads structural integrity and washing away the shoulders.
The road is open, Smith said, but theres a lot of work to be done.
Also of concern for the state is Rapp Road in the Town of Thompson.
DOT officials announced just Wednesday that traffic running over State Route 17 had to be reduced to one lane on the town road.
According to a DOT statement, a deficiency was found in the structure of the road by shifting traffic to one lane, officials said they would be able to maintain safety.
The lane reduction will remain in place until structural repairs are completed.
So far the state hasnt been able to get a handle on a dollar amount for all its projects.