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Schumer Calls On Army Corps To Immediately Step-In And Help Residents Of Haiti Island Stranded After Recent Bridge Collapse

Haiti Island Residents Currently Lack Automobile Access to the Mainland Following the Collapse of the Only Remaining Functional Bridge on the Island

Residents are Now Forced to Walk Between the Island and Mainland -Islanders Struggling to Commute to Work and to Transport Essentials like Groceries, Kerosene and Medical Supplies back Home

Schumer Calls on Army Corps to Immediately Step

Following the collapse of a bridge on Haiti Island, that has threatened to isolate residents by cutting of their access to the island via automobile, today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to swiftly stepin and come to the residents' aid. Last Friday , a section of the Seneca River Bridge, which has been nonoperational for the past eighteen years, collapsed in a way that threatens a temporary bridge that sits directly below. In response, authorities closed the temporary bridge to vehicles out of fear the damaged bridge above would collapse on it, effectively cutting off Haiti Island residents from the mainland.


Haiti Island residents, young and old, are now forced to walk by foot to the mainland, struggling to commute to work, attend school, and transport essential supplies like groceries, kerosene and medical supplies back to their residencies on the island. Furthermore, fire trucks and ambulances are unable to reach the island in emergency cases where the island's firstresponders need additional assistance.  


Today, Schumer called on the Army Corp to use its unique bridge engineering and emergency response expertise to stepin and come to the resident's aid.


"No entity is more experienced at dealing with structural collapses and bridge dilemmas than the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The people of Haiti Island need help from the Corps and they need it fast," said Schumer. "While residents of Haiti Island narrowly escaped a potentially devastating accident, they are now faced with a perilous situation that leaves them struggling to commute to work, attend school and transport essential supplies back to the island. Today, I'm calling on the Corps of Engineers to immediately stepin and use their expertise to assist in the reconstruction and maintenance of the island's damaged bridges."


Haiti Island, in the Cayuga County portion of the Seneca River, has sixty residents. For nearly a century, they have relied on one, singlelane Bridge, the Haiti Bridge, to connect them to the mainland. However, in 1990 the bridge was damaged when a snowplow crashed through the deck. It was repaired with a Bailey bridge which lasted seventeen years, until late in the evening Friday, July 27, when a section of it collapsed.


The damaged bridge deck has left the Island's residents without road access to their schools, jobs, grocery stores, or places of worship.  They can cross the bridge on foot, but for any load larger than an armful, they must rely on boat traffic - this includes necessities like food and fuel oil.  Conditions will quickly become unhealthy without truck access because there will be no garbage pickups and no septic services.  Families are particularly concerned that the collapsed bridge prevents police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances from responding to emergencies.


Following the accident on Friday, State Department of Transportation officials gave the bridge an initial inspection, and this week conducted a full inspection of both the damaged wooden bridge and the bailey bridge. An engineer is expected to make an announcement shortly regarding whether or not the bridge will be reopened for 4 wheelers and motorcycles. It is expected that a further evaluation at a later date will determine whether or not the bridge will be reopened to cars.


The deteriorating integrity of the aging bridge was mostly recently discussed on July 19 th by local authorities and residents.


Today, Schumer, citing the Corps of Engineers expertise and authority in the construction and maintenance of all structures on waterways, called on the Corp to act swiftly to come to the resident s' aid. 



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