Repairs begin in storm damaged Franklin County

Heavy rain caused problems across Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A part of the state hit hard by Hurricane Irene in 2011 was drenched with another dose of wet weather. 22News is working for you after surveying damage in the border town of Colrain.

As quickly as the rain fell, the reports of damage and washed out roads came with it. North Green River Road on the Northeast side of Colrain is where there were reports of damage.

Colrain Police Chief Jason Haskins told 22News it’s an area that was hit hard by Hurricane Irene. The Green River runs along one side of the road and there’s a steep embankment on the other. Wednesday night’s downpours sent water rushing down the embankment and cascading into the river on the other side, washing out part of the road in the process.

Large underground drainage pipes called culverts worked overtime today spewing rushing water into the river.

It’s these culverts that keep the soil from getting saturated and changing the dirt road into an unstable slurry of mud.

Chief Haskins told 22News the rain also caused downed power lines and boulders to fall from the embankment. He said the center of town at the intersection of Main and Jacksonville Roads was also flooded from a blockage in one of the town reservoirs.

From Colrain to Deerfield, basements flooded, road were impassable, trees fell and power was knocked out. Runoff from the highway and the hill below is what caused this street to flood.

Deerfield DPW crews spent much of the day wading into the muddy chest high water trying to unclog a drainage pipe that runs underneath the road.

Once the clog got cleared, the water was able to release into the stream that runs through the woods.

22News talked to the man who lives next door. He told us it’s happened before, but never this bad.

“Torrential downpours last night. We had a deluge. Really. I never saw it rain that hard. Like three inches in a short time and I heard the splash out here when a truck came out and looked and it was three quarters of the way across the road,” said Bob Douglass of Deerfield.

Once the culvert is unclogged, crews will go to work trying to repair any damage to the roads surface. There was also some minor flooding on farm land along Route 116.

22News made our way to Scout Road in Greenfield. It’s partially paved, but most of it is dirt and is sloped downward. It’s the dirt part of it that was totally washed out for several hours.

You can see the large stone that usually forms the foundation of the road is exposed. When 22News got there, DPW crews were still working on repairs.

A section about 300 yards long was washed out by surging water 8 feet wide and about a foot deep.

Obviously it was the amount of rain that caused the washout but a contributing factor was the lack of culverts or drainage pipes running under the road to help carry water under rather than over.

“Any ruts the water just carries the materials off the road. The goal is to get the road open back up so people can travel on it and to grade it out and make it look nice again. Probably the last time it was this bad was Hurricane Irene,” said Greg Dekoschak of the Greenfield DPW.

There’s a small brook the runs along the side of the road. The road should be back open now. Repairs were estimated to take just a few hours.

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