Mudslide closed portion of Route 20 in Madison County

Gulch Road in Eaton is closed where a culvert clogged, washing out the roadway and leaving the guardrail dangling over a 40-foot gulch

A 'serious problem' is the way Eaton Town Supervisor Priscilla Suits describes the road situation in her Madison County town.

Portions of Route 20 and Crow Hill Road in Eaton, near Pine Woods (east of Morrisville) , were closed after mudslides Monday morning. State DOT crews got the cleanups done quickly.

The crew working at this incident was from Hornell, one of 200 crews brought into the flood area. The Department of Transportation district based in Utica says it is getting a handle on road emergencies, and hopes to start sending the out of area crews home starting Tuesday.

Mudslides are not the only issue: the heavy rains that happen almost daily have also clogged culverts and undermined roads. The rushing water has also made shallow roadside ditches into feet deep gullies, exposing gas lines and buried cables.

Especially hard hit, just west of the village of Morrisville. Reservoir Road was partly undermined, with feet wide and deep gullies and tons of nearby yards eaten away. There are barricades around a part of Gulch Road, where a small creek passes under the roadway. The culvert clogged and the water went over the road instead, washing much of one lane away.

A guardrail now sits, over ten feet away from the pavement edge, hanging in mid-air over a 40 foot drop, washed out and leaving the cracked culvert exposed.

Supervisor Suits says there are five closed roads, and no town money to fix them. She's hoping for federal or state aid.

The DOT tells us that they've received the emergency request from Eaton, and on Tuesday their emergency contractors will look at the damage and see if fast-tracking repairs will be possible.

The Woodland Pond Road, off 12B near Pine Woods (on the way to Hamilton from Rte 20) is also closed, with water rushing

from a marsh into a pond on the other side. The culvert under this road was cleaned after last week's rains, but cattails have clogged it again. Fish were swimming across the road as we watched. Photographer Andy Wolf and I spotted one that had become stranded on the road, and we picked it up and put it in deeper water (a new version of 'catch and release'!)

Trucks and cars were going on the closed roads, and through the water, as we watched, and Supervisor Suits says that's another major safety concern. Councilman Paul Orth, who showed us some of the damaged roads, says no one's sure of the extent of all the damages, and how much the continuing rain continues to undermine roadways.

The DOT is also looking at all roads, and especially bridges in flooded areas, with over 1,000 assessments done so far.

Madison County Administrator Mark Scimone says the State of Emergency will stay in effect in the county until at least Wednesday, as recovery from flooding and road problems continues.

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