HUNTER ― Route 23A will be closed for one week later this month for emergency repairs because of a slope failure, officials said Wednesday.
The 3-and-a-half mile section between Wingate Road and the bridge over Kaaterskill Creek near Palenville will be closed Sept. 17 to 24, according to a statement from the state Department of Transportation.
Traffic will be detoured on routes 32, 23 and 296 depending where motorists are coming from, according to a travel advisory from the department. Drivers will have access to Kaaterskill Falls and Hunter Mountain.
“It’s similar to the failure we had two years ago there,” Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said. “The state has acknowledged that there is a weak point in that section.”
The stretch of road was closed Oct. 11 to 14, 2016, according to the town of Hunter’s website. Repairs were also made in 2017, DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani said.
The Hunter slope failure was discovered Aug. 8, Viggiani said.
“We installed traffic lights the next day and stabilized the slope until we were able to begin the work that starts on Sept. 17,” he said.
One lane of alternating traffic is in place with temporary traffic lights, Groden said, adding he was first notified about the problem Aug. 9.
“Traffic is moving — albeit slowly moving,” he said Wednesday.
The road was safe for travel after initial repairs were made, Viggiani said.
“But it wasn’t a long-lasting repair,” he added. “We need to do more permanent and extensive repairs to prevent further damage.”
Town officials hope the work will be done as soon as possible.
“The road is a lifeline to our town,” Hunter Town Councilman Sean Mahoney said. “When it needs to be fixed, we have to make it happen.
“It’s an inconvenience that we have to take.”
The closure should have low impact on the community, Town Supervisor Daryl Legg said
“It was easy to plan for,” Legg said. “DOT gave us plenty of notice and established detours.”
During the closure, crews will install concrete stabilizing pods to anchor the slope, according to the DOT.
“Along with stabilizing the slope, we will repair the pavement on Route 23A and accompanying guiderails,” Viggiani said. “...The work will help prevent future wash outs and chances of Mother Nature causing issues for the roadway and shoulder area.”
Steep elevations, poor drainage, lack of vegetation and human modifications all contribute to the potential for slope failures, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.
The slope failure was caused by water running down the mountainside, Viggiani said.
The region’s meteorological summer, which is measured during June, July and August, was unusually wet, said Evan Heller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
The area’s received 11.92 inches of rainfall at the Albany National Weather Service Station, or .55 of an inch above average, Heller said.
The increase was more dramatic at the weather service’s Poughkeepsie station, where the total rainfall this summer was 19.48 inches, or 6.2 inches above normal, Heller said.
The upcoming repairs will help prevent future erosion, Viggiani said.
“We really appreciate motorists’ patience and cooperation,” he said.