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News Release

August 29, 2011      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Dutchess County Deals with Storm Aftermath

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is asking all residents to avoid all discretionary travel today and to add extra travel time if travel is absolutely necessary as county roads have been severely impacted by Hurricane Irene.    “The county is an absolute mess in terms of damage.   We are anticipating damage estimate of multiple millions of dollars.   It is important for residents to give county public works crews the opportunity to address damage and get roads reopened as quickly as possible,” said the County Executive.      Dutchess County Public Works crews, including Engineering and Highway, are working to comprehensively assess the damage and make repairs as quickly as possible.

County roads have been impacted by flooding, washouts, bridge damage, culvert damage and drainage problems.    More than 80 roads throughout the county have been impacted.   Conditions have been changing rapidly throughout the evening and into this morning.   Many roads are closing as crews find extensive damage, while other roads have been able to be reopened as flooding recedes.   This has made it nearly impossible to provide a comprehensive list of accurate road conditions.   “The best thing for people to do is to stay off the roads as much as possible to let public works and utility crews do their work,” said County Executive Steinhaus.

County Executive Steinhaus was in the Dutchess County Emergency Operations Center yesterday beginning at 6am until 11pm Sunday evening.    He was also out with Dutchess County Commissioner of Public Works Charles Traver assessing storm damage to county roadways throughout the evening and will be in the northern Dutchess today reviewing storm damage impacts.

Dutchess County 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatchers have handled nearly 2800 calls since 12am on Sunday morning.      9-1-1 calls have been reports of flooding, evacuation and rescue assistance as well structural damage to homes.     There also been numerous non-emergency calls made to 9-1-1 seeking general information that have taxed 9-1-1 lines and operators.

“We appreciate all of the residents have used common sense during the storm event and in its aftermath; those who have used 9-1-1 only for emergencies and have stayed off the roads to allow crews to get to work,” said County Executive Steinhaus.    “Unfortunately, we have also seen too many instances of people who are ignoring general safety rules … driving through flooding areas and getting stranded; calling 9-1-1 to find out when the power is coming back on, etc.   These types of actions are a huge strain on the emergency responders who have to put themselves at risk and delay other calls into the 9-1-1 system from people who have serious emergencies.” 

County Executive Steinhaus extends his sincere appreciation to all of the emergency first responders, 9-1-1 public safety dispatchers, public work crews and others for their assistance and work throughout the storm event and its continuing aftermath.   “We are blessed to have amazing, dedicated emergency first responders who put their lives on the line to help others.   Over the next few days, we will be asking a great deal of the local public works and utility crews as we all work to get things back to normal.   Thank you all for your extraordinary assistance and the work yet to come,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

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County Executive

County Executive