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New Hempstead Road Work Shifts to Securing Construction Materials

Removal of bridge may alleviate flooding potential from Hurricane Irene.

Rockland County Highway Superintendent Charles “Skip” Vezzetti says for the past two days the crews working on New Hempstead Road have been focusing on securing all loose construction materials and all work areas in preparation for the impending hurricane. That effort will continue through the rest of the day.

Vezzetti thinks there may be less of a chance of flooding along New Hempstead Road since the bridge over the Demarest Kill has been removed. The bridge was dismantled in late July. A month earlier than that, June 23, New City experienced flooding caused by torrential rains.

He expects the water should flow more easily into the two culverts under North Main Street, avoiding the flooding of late June but that depends on how quickly and heavily the rains fall.

Highway crews are working throughout the county, inspecting streams, bridges and culverts for debris and tree limbs that could block the flow of water.

“We’re checking areas where we normally get flooding, “ says Vezzetti. “We have crews out checking all our catch basins.”

The workers have looking at the county’s 4,000 county basins and responding to calls from residents about potential problem areas.

With the storm expected to start intensifying Saturday night, plans have been made to have staff on hand.

“We have a rapid response team that will report to work Saturday night,” said Vezzetti.

Starting at midnight, the six-person crew will respond to calls from police or emergency services for assistance. All other department workers are on stand-by for the following 16 hours so they can get to work quickly if needed. All vacations and personal leaves have been cancelled.

Vezzetti says the department is ready for the hurricane.

“It’s going to be long haul,” he says. 

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