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Floodwaters start to recede; total damage unknown

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While some flooded rivers have receded across St. Lawrence County, it could be days before some roads reopen, according to county officials.

On Thursday the state Department of Transportation reopened Route 58 at Route 184 near Pope Mills after it was flooded. A section of County Route 53 just south of Brasher Falls also has been reopened.

Both the bridge on the Route 420 extension in Winthrop and the Main Street bridge on Route 11C in downtown Brasher Falls were reopened to traffic on Friday. They had been closed since Tuesday.

Brasher Supervisor M. James Dawson met with Department of Transportation officials at both bridges Friday and originally had anticipated that the 11C bridge would remain closed at least for the weekend until the water had lowered and officials could check for damage.

“The water has dropped precipitously,” Mr. Dawson said.

However, sections of County Route 3 in Rossie and County Route 7 in Macomb are still closed. Flooding also has closed a portion of County Route 15 between Dry Bridge and River roads outside the village of Heuvelton.

“The flooding has been extreme compared with previous years,” said Brian M. Hurlbut, field coordinator for the St. Lawrence County Highway Department. “All of the ice has melted. Now we’re just dealing with high volumes of water.”

“Water has receded in Grasse River and has dropped four feet in the St. Regis,” he said. “We will keep an eye on things. We can’t do anything until the water levels recede. It is difficult to tell the total damage yet.”

Meanwhile, county Emergency Services personnel are keeping tabs on areas where high water is threatening property, including around a dam along the Oswegatchie River at South Edwards, and farther downstream along the Oswegatchie around Heuvelton and nearby Black Lake.

Jane G. Gendron , community executive of the American Red Cross of Northern New York, said staff and volunteers have been extremely busy this week taking care of people in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties whose homes have been affected by flooding.

“There have been families in St. Lawrence County that [the Red Cross members] have been able to take care of on an individual basis,” she said.

Johnson Newspapers writer Bob Beckstead contributed to this report.

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