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Upstate New York Slide Closes Stretch of Interstate

June 15, 2005|From Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A mudslide closed a 16-mile stretch of the main highway linking New York and Montreal after a storm dropped 6 inches of rain on the area in a few hours, officials said.

The closure of Interstate 87 about 60 miles north of Albany means that about 13,000 vehicles traveling that stretch daily will be detoured.

Heavy rain soaked the area of northern New York state late Monday, sweeping mud and rocks that wiped out a stretch of roadway about as long as two tractor-trailers.

Jennifer Post, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said Tuesday that officials were assessing the damage and didn't know how long repairs would take. "We're working around-the-clock to get the road clear and get at least one lane open in each direction as quickly as possible," she said.

The National Weather Service reported more than 6 inches of rain in some areas. Officials declared a state of emergency in four towns in Warren County.

Three drivers suffered minor injuries when their cars struck mudslide debris, Sheriff Larry Cleveland said.

"It's amazing no one actually went into" the mudslide, Cleveland said. "There were boulders up there that were three and four feet across that were rolling down and across the interstate."

Gov. George E. Pataki toured the area Tuesday and said crews would work around the clock to restore the roadway before the normally busy July 4 weekend.

"We're going in with whatever state reserves are needed," the governor said.

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