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Joshua Thomas
An ice jam on the Otsquago Creek in Starkville was cleared by NYS DOT employees and Shults Construction Friday.

Joshua Thomas
NYS DOT employees survey the scene of the Starkville ice jam on Friday morning.

Joshua Thomas
The NYS DOT, along with Shults Construction, work to clear an ice jam from the Otsquago Creek in Starkville Friday.

Joshua Thomas
The Otsquago Creek, along Reid St., Saturday afternoon.


Starkville ice jam broken up as new ones form along Otsquago Creek

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Updated: 9:55 AM


C-S-E Editor

STARKVILLE -- The New York State Department of Transportation and Shults Construction worked Thursday and Friday to clear a severe ice jam in the town of Starkville.

Since then, Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton said several new ice jams have formed along the Otsquago Creek between Fort Plain and Starkville, including a few in Hallsville. He said Tuesday evening that there were a few more small ones forming in Starkville as well.

"If one breaks loose, it could pose a threat," he said, though he noted that one that formed over the weekend in Minden broke up by itself.

The DOT, said Barton, were keeping an eye on the newly formed ice jams Tuesday and deciding what, if anything, should be done.

On Thursday, DOT officials were alerted to the fact that ice had backed up behind  Starkville's Route 80 bridge over the Otsquago Creek so severely that it began to overtake the bridge and roadway. 

While the ice had been cleared to the point where it no longer threatened to cascade over the bridge by Friday morning, it remained jammed underneath the structure, with workers removing it by Friday evening to let the water freely flow through.

Early Friday morning, workers cleared the gigantic piles of ice using six excavators, operating simultaneously. The ice was loaded into trucks and removed from the scene to be dumped about a half mile away along Route 80. 12 workers -- six operating excavators and six transporting ice -- said they expected to be on scene for up to seven days, though the job was finished a lot quicker than initially expected.

Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton stated Friday afternoon that there's possibility that the ice has compromised Starkville's Route 80 bridge. "It might have been compromised by the water and pressure," said Barton, noting that a significant amount of dirt may have eroded from the structure's abutments.

Barton said that the village of Fort Plain is keeping a close eye on the creek and potential ice jams, stating, "We're going to see what develops with the weather and we'll have the police and fire departments on duty, ready for anything that may occur."

He continued, "I'm asking the residents to be vigilant and keep an eye out to inform authorities if they see anything that may cause damage to Fort Plain and its residents."

He said that if anybody sees the water rise to dangerous levels, they should call 911.

A similar ice jam, which formed quickly and with a cracking sound that a resident in the vicinity compared to a train crash, was successfully cleared from the Otsquago Creek behind Save-A-Lot in Fort Plain on Dec. 22. 

Joshua Thomas - The Otsquago Creek running through Starkville Saturday, after the severe ice jam had been broken up.

Joshua Thomas - Just up the road from Starkville on Route 80 sits the gigantic pile of ice removed from the ice jam that previously clogged the flow of Otsquago Creek.


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