Reports document Halloween flood damage, possible mitigation measures in Whitesboro

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Armed with two recent consultant’s reports on flood damage and suggested mitigation measures, state and federal lawmakers are renewing pleas for federal help with flood prevention and buyout of frequently inundated homes and businesses in the area of last Halloween’s flooding.

The reports by Pennsylvania consulting company Ramboli were commissioned by the Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission and are intended to document last fall’s flood and to propose solutions or at least mitigation measures.

The analysis focused on an area in the Village of Whitesboro generally bounded by the CSX railroad tracks, Sauquoit Creek, Oriskany Boulevard, Victory Parkway, Main Street, and Mohawk Street.

One objective was to identify spots where fast-flowing water may weaken building foundations by modeling the hydraulics during floods, and in turn convince federal authorities to take action.

One report by the consultant found approximately 67 homes with their first floor levels completely under water during the Oct. 31 flood, and 114 more not flooded on the first floor but inundated to depths that could have weakened their foundations.

A second report by Ramboli identified at least eight possible modifications to mitigate flooding and gave cost estimates:

A 200-foot by 10-foot-high opening in the Oriskany Boulevard Bridge, at $10.6 million

A flood bench in Oriskany like one in Whitestown, $2.8 million

A flood bench at Tahan’s Plaza, $16.9 million

Widening the Main Street bridge to 250 feet by 6 feet high, $7.2 million

Two flood benches at the CSX bridge, $8.4 million

A downstream retention pond with five 4-foot-wide culverts, $29.6 million

A flood wall near Whitesboro Middle School, $1.6 million

The reports were shared Wednesday at a press conference called by Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-22, Utica. Also weighing in were state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, Rome; Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy; and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. The county provided a grant to fund the studies.

“My hope is the relevant federal agencies use this information to make better flood mitigation and buyout decisions in the future before this happens again,” Brindisi said.

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