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Residents frustrated by wait for road repairs in Apalachin

APALACHIN (WBNG) — An out-of-commission road bridge in Apalachin continues to cause headaches for residents, months after it was washed out by rain and flooding.

The bridge at the bottom of Long Creek Road was washed out during flooding that plagued the area in August 2018. It was the best way to get on and off Long Creek Road.

“Since they closed it, the only way of getting out of here is to take a five-mile detour down Long Creek Road, across Montrose (Turnpike) and back down the other side. To go four-tenths of a mile, you had to go four miles to get out of it,” said Chuck Yoko who lives on the road.

While residents have been waiting for a new bridge to be built, a bypass was paved as a temporary fix. However, the bypass only fits one car at a time and is not ideal for those who live on the road.

“It’s still a bumpy road and it has to be maintained because of all the weather. Even now with the rain and the ice, it makes that road not very navigable,” said Town of Owego Supervisor Donald Castellucci.

The town is working on constructing a replacement bridge, but the project is bigger than expected.

“We initially put in a plan to make it so it’s pre-disaster condition, but at the end of the day, it won’t pass that way. It’s got to be brand-new,” Castellucci said. “It will take one construction season, but it’s probably going to be next year because the paperwork is just moving through the process. We don’t expect to be able to start construction this year. It will be next year.”

Building a new bridge is expected to cost $1 million, with FEMA covering 75 percent of the price tag, and the state covering 12.5 percent. The Town of Owego will cover the rest, costing about $125,000.

“The good thing about if it does take the next construction season, then we can plan for it in our budget this year,” said Castellucci.

For now, residents are left waiting, and hoping heavy rains don’t wash out the replacement road.

“I and all the neighbors right here are very worried that if we get rains like we had last fall or last summer. There’s a lot of trees down in the creek that will come up and dam this pipe,” Yoko added. “This pipe is not big enough to hold all the water that comes down this creek, and if the trees get in there, they’re going to get dammed up and they’re going to take out the temporary as well.”

Once construction begins on the new bridge, it’s expected to take an additional few months to complete.

Annie Flaherty

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