Cascade Road bridge is only a temporary fix

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:20

Warwick — In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene a large culvert under Cascade Road and just a short distance from Route 17A collapsed along with half of the roadway over Long Pond Creek. The Town of Warwick had been declared a disaster area at that time and was eligible for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. According to Supervisor Michael Sweeton, the town was faced with several options. The most impractical option was that it could allow the road to remain closed until the required hydraulic studies for a new bridge had been completed. That meant that the road would be closed for many months creating not only an inconvenience for residents in that area but a safety issue since it would delay the response time for emergency police, fire and ambulance vehicles. Another option would be to perform temporary repairs and raise the weight restriction for vehicles. That too would prevent some emergency vehicles such as heavy fire engines to reach their destinations by the fastest possible route. The most acceptable alternative was to install a temporary bridge that would be entirely or almost entirely reimbursed by FEMA as an emergency repair needed to insure the safety of residents who live along the section of the road closest to Route 17A. And several weeks ago Cascade Road was fully reopened to all traffic including emergency vehicles. “We were able to install that bridge quickly,” said Sweeton adding that having to come to a full stop before crossing the narrow roadway will only be a temporary inconvenience. Pending completion of the mandatory studies and approval by FEMA, a new and perhaps even wider than the original roadway will be constructed next spring. FEMA will pay 75 per cent of the cost and the state may pay the balance or at least share the remaining expense equally with the Town of Warwick.