By Nathan Mayberg
WURTSBORO July 15, 2005 The bridge which connects Brook Street to St. Josephs Cemetery in Wurtsboro is finally being replaced, after its walls collapsed during last Aprils floods.
Once the new bridge is installed, 15 families will be able to bury their loved ones who passed away over the last few months but could not be put to rest until now.
The old bridge was damaged from a flooded Wilsey Valley Brook, which connects to the Basha Kill through a trout steam that the bridge spans.
That trout stream is now absolutely barren, with a heavy amount of sediment stretching for more than a mile, said Town of Mamakating Supervisor Charles Penna. Penna and Highway Superintendent Richard Johnson said the current dry-up of the stream is due to the sediment which was pushed downstream from the flood. Johnson claimed the water was still running underneath the rocks.
According to Penna, the Village of Wurtsboro did not want to fix the bridge due to liability concerns about interfering with a Class A trout stream. The town has more extensive liability insurance, he said.
The village ceded the title of a 60x100-foot piece of property (including the bridge) to the town, in what Penna said was a long, complicated process of paperwork involving attorneys and FEMA, which will reimburse the town for the work. The surveying and engineering has also now been completed.
All services and materials were donated by anonymous people and businesses, so FEMA may not have much to pay, said Penna.
The bridge itself is approximately 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, said Penna. He hoped to have it opened by today.
The supervisor is glad to have fixed the bridge after dealing with several families and their somber wishes to put their loved ones to rest.
Now people can go on with their lives, he said. The town stepped up to the plate and took full responsibility.
The town highway department will be installing the bridge, he said.
The town will also place ten-foot concrete embankments on the walls of the brook.