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

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

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.


Work continues to clear ice jam in Starkville

Friday, January 10, 2014 - Updated: 1:04 PM


C-S-E Editor

STARKVILLE -- The New York State Department of Transportation and Shults Construction have been working to clear an ice jam in Starkville since yesterday.

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 has been cleared to the point where it's no longer threatening to cascade over the bridge, it's still jammed underneath the structure, and workers are currently attempting to remove it so that water may 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 -- will continue work in the Otsquago Creek late into this evening, again resuming the process early Saturday.

With this weekend's expected high temperatures and rain, heavy melting may occur, which could result in a significant rise in the creek, and it was noted that the DOT and Shults Construction expect to be on scene for about a week, or whatever length of time is required to ensure that the water continues to safely pass. 

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 situation, 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."

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. 


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