Officials in Montgomery County are concerned for the safety of residents and employees in Fonda. This after the State DOT's decision to close one railroad crossing to motorists and limit the use of the other. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, this leaves people in the flood zone with one evacuation route and in flooding situations, it's that route that's the most dangerous to use.
FONDA, N.Y. -- "Biggest concern is getting out of here in the case of a disaster," said Sal Riggi.
In the past six years, Sal Riggi has seen his neighborhood on the south side of the railroad tracks flood three times.
"It's been okay knowing that Broadway has been open two ways, it's been okay, but we want Center Street open so bad," Riggi said.
DOT limited the use of the crossings at the request of CSX after two people were killed. The village has been fighting to get them back open, but a recent ruling keeps Center Street closed and turns Broadway into a one way, leaving people like Riggi with only one way out.
Adam Schwabrow said, "It poses a problem. The intersection they're pushing everyone towards from Park Street is actually right in front of the Fonda Speedway and that floods first."
Pedestrian traffic will be allowed at both crossings and if a state of emergency is declared, DOT will allow for two way traffic at the Broadway crossing. But the extra steps and time it would take to make that happen pose a whole other set of concerns.
Sheriff Michael Amato said, "Then we have to notify the railroad, then we have to man it, which takes people away from my patrols and I'm already down seven deputies."
"It hinders freedom. It is quite directly in the center of our village," said William Peeler.
The closures don't only effect the village, but many town and county office buildings are on this side of the tracks as well and extra fuel to go around means extra money.
"The town and county will be pushing their dump trucks onto Main Street and that could mean more accidents, so I'm concerned about it," said Amato.
The village has 180 days to comply with the ruling. If not, DOT says they'll close the Broadway crossing completely. Mayor Peeler says an appeal isn't off the table, but for a small community, that process could be a major financial burden.
"I would like to do such, but that would be a vote from our board and we'd also get public input from our residents," said the mayor.
"I hope Peeler really fights this tooth and nail and it comes out right," Riggi said.