Tuesday, September 20, 2011
After The Storm, Photos by Amy
Long after Hurricane Irene visited here, Amy and I walked on closed roads to see the local impact of this storm. Prentice Gorge Road climbs from the river valley to a century old farm. For the first mile the road climbs the ridge following the stream. The road is steep and the gorge is narrow. Our first picture was taken near the bottom of the hill where the vertical separation between the stream and the road is small. This washout is repairable.
The next two pictures were taken farther up the hill. Here the distance from the road to the stream bed is great and the gorge is very narrow. Some might question why a road was ever built here. Repairing this washout will certainly present challenges. For now the Town Highway Department plans to leave this section of Prentice Gorge Road closed.
County Route 3 climbs the same ridge as Prentice Gorge Road some three miles away. It follows Shaw Brook. The stream bed was at the far side of the new gravel deposit along the tree line. An earlier locally heavy storm moved the stream bed to the middle of the gravel deposit. Since the culvert handled the earlier storm water, nothing was done to move the stream back to its former location.
Hurricane Irene dropped enough water here to move the stream to the road. Again the culvert handled the volume of water but the roaring stream undercut the road fill. There may be another washout uphill from here. The road is closed in both directions and the walk to the second site is longer than we are willing to tackle.
By comparison, our driveway that also makes a short climb out of the river valley required no repair after the storm. The main difference is that our lane was not placed next to a stream. It will be interesting to watch how the road repair unfolds. County Route 3 carries substantial traffic and provides access to many homes. It should be repaired soon. Prentice Gorge Road is precariously perched and is lightly traveled. It may be closed for good.