'Enough is enough.' Clarkstown fed up with flooding on Route 59

A group of bipartisan elected officials in Rockland called on New York State Thursday to fix a roadway that's been flooding for years after rainstorms.

Diane Caruso

Jan 11, 2024, 10:29 AM

Updated 184 days ago

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A group of bipartisan elected officials in Rockland called on New York State Thursday to fix a roadway that's been flooding for years after rainstorms.
 
"Enough is enough. People's lives are at risk. Businesses are suffering, and we have to address this,” said Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann alongside other local town, state and federal officials on Route 59 in West Nyack.
 
The roadway is the state’s responsibility.
 
It had been closed because of flooding after this week’s rain.
 
It was said Thursday morning that thousands of drivers use Route 59 every day, including emergency vehicles.
 
“The state has to quarterback the process of fixing this problem,” said Democratic state Assembly Member Ken Zebrowski.
 
"We don't need a Band-Aid fix, we need a long-term solution,” said Republican state Sen. Bill Weber.
 
"It's unacceptable that this major east-west artery through our town is closed this many times," said Hoehmann.
 
Officials say Route 59 had flooded eight times over the last year and 16 over the last three years.
 
Officials Thursday morning suggested the state come up with a comprehensive plan about the Hackensack River, which is nearby and overflows after storms. 
 
They also want a look at the interstate compact agreement regarding water flowing to northern New Jersey from Lake Deforest. 
 
Veolia, the water company responsible for Lake Deforest, told News 12 in a statement, "We will cooperate with municipal officials to study ways to address these flooding issues."
 
A spokesperson with the state’s department of transportation told News 12:
“Safety is always the top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation and we take the threat of flooding along any of our roads very seriously. In advance of forecasted storms, NYSDOT maintenance crews inspect and clear drainage systems to help prevent instances of flooding. Unfortunately, the State Route 59 corridor in West Nyack is in a low-lying area that is highly susceptible to flooding from the Hackensack River during periods of sustained heavy rainfall, such as the one that took place this week, which are becoming more frequent as our climate changes. We continually review the area for potential enhancements and, when flooding does occur, our crews work around-the-clock to reopen the road as quickly as possible and minimize the inconvenience to the traveling public. However, a solution to this problem will require action that goes beyond NYSDOT’s jurisdiction over the State highway system. As always, we remain willing to engage with all our federal, state and local partners to address this issue.”
 
News 12 did not yet get a response to a question referencing what “action that goes beyond” the department’s jurisdiction.
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