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Flooding closes Maple City Trail

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Flooding has forced the city to close until further notice a section of the Maple City Trail by the Algonquin Dam.

The closed section stretches along the Oswegatchie River from the Lake Street Pedestrian Bridge to the Pump House. This part of the trail lays low along the river and is found downhill from, and follows along, Crescent Street.

Rising temperatures have caused unusually large amounts of water from snow melt to flow through the dam.

“We didn’t have any thaws this year, and when the water flowed from the mountains to the Oswegatchie, it came all at once,” City Manager John Pinkerton said Wednesday. “This year the snow just built up.”

Walter Bracy, lead operator of the Algonquin Dam, said the flooding is expected to get worse before it gets better.

“Water is still rising and will continue to rise for another few weeks,” Mr. Bracy said. “It will rise a couple of inches per day.”

Mr. Bracy, who also works at the Cranberry Lake and Adams Center dams, said the problem is not specific to Ogdensburg.

Public Works Supervisor Gregg E. Harland said that crews cannot clean up debris from the trail until the water level recedes and “mother nature runs her course.”

He said although the area near the dam is flooded, only a few city residents have reported flooding in their homes. The city usual helps residents pump out water from flooded basements.

“I was surprised,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Bracy said all of the gates are open at the electric station. The city is closing the trail to all traffic until the area is found safe for use again, Mr. Pinkerton said. Flooding he said uncommon, but it has happened before.

“There isn’t a potential for harm right now or anything we can do,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “We just have to wait and make sure it’s safe for pets and people.”

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