Washed Out Road Raises Resident's Ire

BENNINGTON, NY - A washed out road in this Wyoming County town is raising concerns among neighbors, about whether a recent highway re-construction job was done right in the first place.

During heavy and sustained rains which caused localized flooding on Thursday night, a portion of Getman Road was washed out where it passes over Red Brook.

"I never could believe it would be that way," said Al Gowdy, who watched the road give way. "You sure don't want to mess with water."

Nearby, Red Brook had been backing up onto the property of Susan Weber.

"I was looking at my house and it looked like it was standing in the middle of a lake," recalled Weber, during the hours when more than three inches fell on the area according to the National Weather Service.

When the water receded back into Red Brook, it took much of her landscaping with it.

"It's heart wrenching to tell you the truth…it really is. My hands have been on every square inch of this property for the last three weeks and everything is virtually gone right now."

More disconcerting than the loss of land and labor though, is something else.

"We knew this was going to happen," Weber told WGRZ-TV.

Weber and some of her neighbors say a few years back the culvert that used to allow Red Brook to pass beneath the road was replaced, by what they noticed was a much smaller pipe.....which is now sitting down the creek along with a bunch of other junk.

"We saw the county do it and we questioned them …saying you don't understand a lot of water comes through this area, and a pipe that size won't sustain the water flow," Weber said.

While sympathetic to losses sustained by property owners, the county's' deputy highway superintendent insists that nature—not mankind –was the blame for the washout.

"Before anything like that (culvert replacement) is done there's a hydraulic study done...which measures water flow…this wasn't just done willy-nilly," said Chris Oliveri. "There is nothing any piece of equipment or anything like that can do to stop something like this."

Neighbors are unconvinced

"Somebody didn't do something right," said Gowdy. Weber concurred stating: "It's one thing when it's an act of God, but when it could have been prevented by smarter engineering, that's where the rub comes in."


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