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High Water, Cold Weather Create Mess In Local River

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The frozen debris shoved this jet ski up against another boat. (Photo Credit: KDKA)

The frozen debris shoved this jet ski up against another boat. (Photo Credit: KDKA)

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BRIDGEWATER (KDKA) – A mass of frozen debris is causing major problems in Beaver County.

People living in Bridgewater have grown used to flooding over the years; however, the mess it’s creating now near a retractable bridge is anything but normal.

The residents living along the Beaver River say it only took a few hours for a few dead trees to suddenly become a huge logjam.

It became a nearly 80-foot wide pile of frozen debris that gathered near the bridge in front of Jeffrey’s Landing Saturday morning.

“Six o’clock in the morning there was only one tree, which we moved,” said Dennis Kelly, a clean-up volunteer worker. “There was nothing else here. The jet ski was still floating. I went and had coffee, by ten o’clock it was up against that boat.”

A part of the problem is being caused by Mother Nature as high waters wash all of the dead trees and debris from the banks into the river.

However, officials say the public is also partly responsible for throwing litter, like plastic bottles and other garbage, into the river.

“A lot of it comes from up above down; so, you can’t be the sheriff to everything – throwing stuff overboard,” said Heidi Paul, the mayor of Bridgewater. “It’s even coming down from the hill banks.”

Mayor Paul added that people are used to flooding in the community, but she admits that the current situation is a mess.

Once the rain stopped, temperatures dropped – causing all the debris clogging up in the marina to suddenly freeze over. The debris is about seven feet deep, and is frozen enough to walk in some places.

Officials say that just makes the job of breaking it up difficult and even dangerous.

“The only solution I’d have is possibly getting a crane down here and trying to lift that stuff up, break it loose and get it moving,” said Mayor Paul. “That catwalk has to be moved though.”

“You know what happens, sooner or later you move one tree, and the whole big section, whole thing, will float,” added Kelly.

In the meantime, workers are trying to break up the ice, and possibly move part of the marina to get the debris moving. They have to be careful though to prevent large pieces of debris from damaging boats and property down river.

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