Police Shut Down Eight-mile Stretch of Highway in MA - NECN

Police Shut Down Eight-mile Stretch of Highway in MA



    (NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Deerfield & Chester, MA) - Interstate 91 was a ghost town Sunday night as police were forced to shut down more than an eight mile stretch of the highway from Greenfield to Deerfield due to fears of flooding.

    This is what threatened to cross from neighborhoods onto the roadway, caused by a partial failure of two dams in the town of Rowe that flooded the Deerfield River.

    "The worst part about it was probably how fast it came in, usually if the Deerfield backs up from the Connecticut when the Connecticut’s full, this water was coming down from up above, and in a matter of an hour it went up probably eight to ten feet," said Peter Melnik, whose farm is completely flooded.

    To the southwest in Chester, Massachusetts, the Walker Island campground was wiped out.

    Rushing waters from a dam release upstream in Becket crumbled the road that used to lead the campground, leaving a ragged cliff in its wake, while lifting RV’s and campers off their campsites and tossing them downstream like a child’s toys.

    “They call it Walker Brook, normally it’s a stream that is about ten feet wide, very calm, a little bit of fish in it, a little bit of brook trout and people use it for recreation, but it’s a raging torrent now,” said John Baldasaro, Chester Police Officer.

    And in downtown Chester, that same brook swelled over its banks, flooding into homes, crashing over bridges, and causing a mandatory evacuation of several streets including route 20.

    “Main Street bridge here it’s almost going over the Main Street bridge and I‘ve lived here 43 years and I never seen nothing like this," said Chester, MA homeowner Jan Sakaske.