Witness: Wanakena Ice Jam Was "Like A Bomb"


Town Supervisor Mark Hall says officials are still unsure what plan of action to take as the historic Wanakena footbridge sits broken and twisted on an ice jam.

"I've had initial conversations with an engineer and probably going to have to look at a structural engineer to come in and assess the situation for us," said Hall.

Ice jams have damaged the 170-foot suspension footbridge and caused flooding several times in the past.

"It makes me want to cry, there's just so many memories of growing up here," said Mary Manchio as she looked at the damage.

This time, when the Oswegatchie River ice let loose, it took just a few seconds to wreak its havoc - ripping the footbridge from its foundation and flooding parts of the Adirondack hamlet with water and large chunks of ice.

"That built up a lot of pressure and basically had like a bomb there and it came down I guess at least 20 miles per hour," said eyewitness Bill King.

The ice jam also caused serious flooding to several homes and seasonal camps along the river. Fortunately, no one had to be evacuated.

Allen Ditch posted pictures of the ice jam's fury on his social media Fabebook page and received responses from around the world.

"A friend in London wrote that Wanakena without the bridge is like Paris without the Eiffel Tower," said Ditch.

For now, the flooding hasn't compromised the hamlet's wastewater treatment facility but town officials are keeping a close eye on the rising waters and hope for the best.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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