UNSUNG HEROES —August 2006

By Alan Galowitz

During violent storms on gloomy nights, when ordinary citizens are safely tucked away in bed, Michael R. McAdams and his Andes Highway Department crew just begin to work. State and County workers must also drag themselves out of bed for emergency duty. Although we may never even get to know who they are, delays on their part could put us in danger.

Once a bridge, now twisted steel and crumbled concrete.

On June 28th, from my home by the side of the road on Rt. 28, I was awakened by the sound of rushing water in the wee hours of the morning. Where the state highway should have been was a fierce stream, rushing downhill toward Margaretville. The torrent, fed by a ten-inch rainfall, would have endangered the life of anyone foolish enough to have attempted to ford the stream. Bryant Brook, blocked by fallen trees, left its banks and chose Rt. 28 as the path of least resistance. The power of the rapids formed above the road should not be underestimated. There was enough force in the swollen brook to wreck a bridge just down the road. It can be seen now, as a pile of twisted steel and crumbled concrete.

Before dawn an earth mover arrived on the scene, clanking down the road, clearing debris. It had shortly before performed some dangerous maneuvers that unblocked the stream 100 feet toward the top of Palmer Hill. Water resumed its normal stream bed path and no longer flowed on the highway.

Such heavy equipment operations occur under cover of darkness and in foul weather. We never see them or those who perform their jobs while we sleep. Nor will we know what damage would occur if we were not under the protection of these unsung heroes in their thankless jobs.

Those thanks are overdue to The Andes Highway Department, and those who maintain the state and county roads. They have proved their worth under the worst of conditions.