Park Street hill destroyed by rain second time Sunday

By Dan McClelland
For the second time in recent weeks Sunday afternoon’s rain storm dramatically eroded construction materials on the Park Street hill near the high school- sending thousands and thousandsof gallons of water and construction materials with it down Park and Hill streets for hours.
The heavy rain began about 4p.m. and within minutes the road was so gutted it had to be closed by the state highway department.  Tiny rivers of fast-rushing water zig-zagged around islands of stone and gravel, creating huge pools at the bottoms of each street.
Nearly three inches of rain fell during the storm.
The entire surface of Day Wholesale parking lot was flooded, as was the highway in front of Little Italy.
The water rushed across the Day Wholesale parking lot and down onto Lake Street near Rite-Aid and the local car wash, bringing lots of stone and gravel with it.
Village crews were able to clean much of that up Sunday to keep Route 3 open.
“We officially closed the two block section of Park Street about 4p.m.,” DOT Engineer Tom Maroun said this week.  He said that area of Park Street was reopened about 9p.m., after Kubricky Construction crews cleared away the construction materials with large machines.
Roadblocks were set up by village police and the department of public works at the intersection of Park St. and McLaughlin and also in front of the Free Press building.  Police officers manned those two spots as well as the intersections of McLaughlin and Pleasant and Pleasant and Demars Blvd., rerouting traffic around the damaged section.
It was unpleasant work, considering the rain continued for hours, eventually letting up in the early evening.
To prepare for the late afternoon storm and the damage it might do, at 9:30a.m. Sunday Tom Maroun called in the Kubricky crews to shore up the Park Street hill in the area of the first wash-out, using rollers and other types of heavy machines.
The workers arrived at about 11a.m. and began bringing in new materials and repacking the gravel surface of the state highway near the Chaney Ave. intersection.
About 3p.m. the rain began and within a few minutes it became apparent all that work was for naught.  The water began to open up small trenches in the surface which grew in width and depth as the rain came harder and harder.
A number of the residences along Park Street also saw flooding, according to reports this week.
The village DPW and electric crew were out in the evening to assist the construction company workers put the road back in order.
Mr. Maroun remains puzzled this week about how to stop a third or fourth wash-out in the weeks ahead.
He said he considered temporarily paving the surface of the hill, but knows that will only cause the water to race faster down the hill, because there is no storm drain system in place.  The old one was destroyed when the blasting of the hill occurred a number of weeks ago, although it hadn’t been very functional in years.
“The not very much we can do right now,” he lamented.
The good news, however,  Mr. Maroun said, is that the construction crews yesterday have started work on installing new storm drains on both sides of the state highway up the hill that will tie into more new storm mains above Chaney Ave.