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What you need to know for 04/30/2017

Ballston Spa keeps wary eye on ice jam

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Ballston Spa keeps wary eye on ice jam

Officials remain concerned about a large ice jam in the Kayaderosseras Creek near Ballston Spa’s Kel
Ballston Spa keeps wary eye on ice jam
The bridge that takes Ralph St. over the Kayaderosseras Creek in Ballston Spa was closed on Tuesday due to the high ice levels. Kelley Park is seen at right.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Officials remain concerned about a large ice jam in the Kayaderosseras Creek near Ballston Spa’s Kelley Park.

The jam, which formed last week, has led to the closure of the Ralph Street bridge over the creek and to basement flooding at some homes close to the creek. Over the weekend, Ralph Street was closed to keep curious sightseers away, and it remains closed.

Water levels behind the jam peaked following last Saturday’s rain, and levels were declining by Monday evening, Mayor John P. Romano said.

Romano said the height of ice seemed to have declined Tuesday, probably due to melting, and water levels behind the jam hadn’t risen further despite Tuesday’s rain.

The situation in Ballston Spa is just one example of a recent spate of ice jams on local streams and rivers, when a warm-up followed weeks of bitter cold that froze moving streams. There was concern throughout the Capital Region last weekend, but in the end there was no significant flooding.

Romano called the Kelley Park ice jam one of the largest he can recall in the Kayaderosseras since his childhood, when he said explosives were used to break up ice jams due to water backing up behind jams.

Explosives are now ruled out for environmental and liability reasons, he said. Village engineers CHA of Colonie evaluated the jam and said trying to remove it with excavating equipment would be too dangerous for the equipment operators.

The village will simply have to wait until the ice jam breaks up on its own, he said: “There aren’t a lot of options out there.”

Romano praised the work in recent days of village volunteer firefighters, who he said have responded to pump-out calls from residents near the creek with flooded basements. Police patrols in the area were also stepped up.

An evacuation plan was also prepared, he said, but it hasn’t been needed.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has also inspected the jam, Romano said.

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