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Discount mulberry handbags outlet sale Outlet ‘Dangerous job’ clears ice jam in Penns Creek
The jam cleared in the late morning and caused no further significant flooding downstream, according to Michelle Dietrich, Union County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Dave Gutelius of Gutelius Excavating drove a 50 ton bulldozer through the frozen water and with its blade, chopped and pushed away chunks of ice that clogged the creek following the recent thaw and re freeze.
“Never in my life did I ever crawl into something I didn’t understand what it would do or how it would react. It had to be done,” Gutelius said of the uncertainty of the virtual ice dam formed by thousands of hunks of ice.
Contractors worked an estimated combined eight hours Tuesday and Wednesday along and in the creek, with permission from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Two small islands with trees were removed.
West End Fire Co. ambulance and the rescue squad of the Mifflinburg Hose Co. responded on stand by in the event of an emergency during the ice breaking.
The creek jammed Friday, forcing water out of its banks and into adjacent fields and over roads. It cut off access to the bridge on Millmont Road between Creek Road and Canada Drive.
That eliminated public road access to an estimated 50 homes in Lewis and Hartley townships because two other bridges, Millmont Red Covered Bridge and the Glenn Iron Bridge, are closed for reconstruction.
Union County declared the situation an emergency. A private road opened but is only suitable for vehicles with four wheel drive. Plans were put in place to respond to any emergencies south of Penns Creek.
The ice formed peaks as high as 6 to 7 feet, Gutelius estimated. When portions were chopped and knocked loose,
there was no telling which way the ice and water would rush.
Gutelius didn’t take lightly the risk involved.
“It was crazy,” he said. “All that time I spent there trying to get through it the last two days and in 10 minutes, I saw the thing go down and start to go by me. That was it. The story was over.”
Except, not quite.
“We could see from the bridge where the ice jam broke, it got hung up within eyesight. The contractors got the equipment back into the creek and moved it away,” said Union County Commissioner John Showers.
Dietrich said spotters posted up downstream to monitor Penns Creek. S turns near Libby Lane were closely watched. By late Wednesday afternoon, Dietrich said there were no reports of additional flooding. Though some homes saw neighboring fields fill with water, Dietrich said there were no reports of homes having taken on flood water.
“Hooray to Dave Gutelius! What a courageous man,” said Canada Drive resident Ellen Kahler.
Kahler and neighbor Ann Koonsman rode a side by side all terrain vehicle to the Millmont Road bridge to see the ice gone for themselves. They wanted to tell their respective husbands they’d have an easier drive home after work.
“There’s a lot of ice yet in Penns Creek. A lot. This is just a touch of what’s in it,” Gutelius said.
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