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Albany, Troy Cope With Infrastructure Woes

Infrastructure issues continue to dog two area cities. Here's the latest on the Albany sinkhole and the Troy water main break.

The hum of machinery drones on at the western end of Albany's Washington Park, not far from the intersection of South Lake Avenue and Elberon Place, where, nearly a week ago, a water main burst, collapsing the street above and swallowing an SUV. The repair process is slow, carefully calculated...

"And right now, what we're focusing on is cleaning the sewer. That's our main emphasis. We're trying to get a lot of debris out of the downstream sewer, and that's what we're working on." The street is closed to all but city vehicles and residents’ cars. The Albany Water Department is asking people to steer clear of the walking path near South Lake Avenue: City Water Commissioner Joe Coffey says there's digging happening there.  "We're opening up the sewer so we can clean it in both directions." 

City residents are being asked to continue conserving water as much as possible. Albany's Lincoln Park Pool is closed until further notice. It could be several days or even a few weeks before all repairs are complete and the street re-opens.  City hall is following the break and issues periodic alerts on social media.

Meanwhile in Troy, which also has been plagued by aging infrastructure issues and experienced its most recent water main break on Friday, Mayor Patrick Madden says the main that broke in Lansingburgh at the beginning of the year will be replaced.  "We on Friday received word from EFC, Environmental Facilities Corporation ,of a grant and a low-interest loan, which, when combined, will be sufficient to replace the 33-inch water main that broke in mid-January. And that's an important line to replace because it is that steel-riveted line, very difficult to repair, and quite old. We're thrilled about that, we've been planning on that since January. We've ordered materials. We're ready to get in the ground. I will have to check with our water superintendent to find out what the updated schedule is on that. But the goal all along has been to get that done by the end of this year."

Madden adds the old line will remain in place to ensure minimal interruption when the new pipe is in place and connected.

Area Congressman Paul Tonko stopped by Troy in January as crews struggled to patch a huge water main break in Lansingburgh that sent gallons upon gallons of water spewing into the streets, affecting the water supply to neighboring communities. He has frequently called for federal funding to fix the Capital Region's aging infrastructure.     "I'm gonna continue to pursue to the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, an infrastructure bill, an AQUA bill, that speaks to our drinking water infrastructure, that will invest, from coast to coast, provide jobs and provide the soundness of a basic core need, that being water. The Troy, Albany, Amsterdam experiences of recent past are added motivation, inspiration, that speaks to us in a powerful way and we need to heed what's happening around us, and take a plan of action."

One local is taking matters into his own hands: the second-year medical student who lost his SUV to the Albany sinkhole has set up a gofundme page in hopes of replacing his car. So far he's raised $2,000 of a $10,000 goal.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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