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Ice buckles Wanakena footbridge

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WANAKENA — Ice released by the thaw buckled the Wanakena footbridge Monday and water flooded several homes in its vicinity.

“The ice let out at noon,” said Rick F. Kovacs, proprietor of the Wanakena General Store. “It flooded and took out the north side of the footbridge. It buckled the A-frame on the north side. It’s just a big ice field.”

Ice floes headed down the Oswegatchie River have threatened to destroy the historic walking bridge in the past, which was rebuilt in 1983, but seeing the devastation is hard for those who know it. The bridge joined the state and national registers of historic places in 1999.

The bridge was built in 1902 by the Rich Lumber Co., one-time operators of a timber tract and large sawmill. The bridge, which connects the middle of the hamlet with South Shore Road, was initially used by the company’s workers to get from their homes to the mill.

Mr. Kovacs, whose son, Brooks W. Oliver, posted pictures of the damaged bridge on Facebook, said people are already in contact about sending donations to repair the span.

“We’ve got over 1,000 likes on Facebook,” he said. “It’ll get fixed. It will be rebuilt.”

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