Bridging the Oliverea valley ravine

On Wednesday, Ulster County Deputy Executive Robert Sudlow told the Daily Freeman that the enormous ravine that Tropical Storm Irene cut through Oliverea Road in Shandaken would open to traffic on Friday (today).

You may remember this ravine from our reporting during Irene -- I went there and did some astonished on-the-spot reporting. The ravine was huge -- 30 feet deep and 100 feet wide. 

The Oliverea ravine has cut off residences and businesses from the outside world since August. To get to the Frost Valley YMCA or the Winnisook Club, you could either drive to the ravine and then leave your car behind and walk, or take the long way around -- a huge detour into Sullivan County.

Needless to say, everyone above the ravine is delighted to hear that it will be bridged soon. But some couldn't quite believe Sudlow's estimate of the temporary bridge opening today. One of our readers anonymously submitted these photos this morning, and wondered how the county could possibly have the temporary bridge paved and open by tonight.

But Sudlow told the Watershed Post this afternoon that the bridge will indeed be open on the announced schedule.

"We expect the temporary bridge to be open later today, or Monday at the latest," Sudlow said. "It will be ready for people and vehicles to cross --very carefully."

It seems hard to believe that a bridge could lack a surface in the morning and be ready for crossing that same day, but it does happen. The temporary bridge the county installed after the storm lower on Oliverea Road, at Hatchery Hollow Road, was built in about 17 hours.