Nightmare Along The Mohawk – The Herkimer Meth Bridge Part 2

by Stephen Ames Berry

Part 2 of a 3 part series, Nightmare Along the Mohawk – The Herkimer Meth Bridge. Part 1 tells of our discovery of a methamphetamine cook site beneath a major railway bridge spanning West Canada Creek in Herkimer NY. The bridge is about 1/2 mile from where West Canada Creek meets the Mohawk River, and 1/4 mile from Herkimer Village.

“Ice is nice and will suffice” Robert Frost, Fire and Ice

Despite Night Court’s warning to stay out of the woods, a few days after alerting the New York State Police to the danger, we set out to return to West Canada Creek and the Herkimer Meth Bridge. It’s a ten minute walk from our home in Herkimer Village’s Camera House.

Despite it being mid-winter, there was only a dusting of snow. Bear leading the way, we turned from the CSX access road and onto the cornfield road that goes to the bridge. And stopped, confronted by an alien landscape. Neither we nor anyone else was getting to that bridge until after the Spring thaw:

Herkimer Meth bridge access blocked
Freshly laid ice carpet block access to Herkimer Meth Bridge, seen at right

The ice was neatly sculpted, as became more apparent when a few months later it began to melt:

Neatly sculpted ice blocking the road to the Herkimer Meth Bridge.
Neatly sculpted ice blocking the road to the Herkimer Meth Bridge (Photo taken mid-Spring)

The other side of the bridge had been given the same treatment, preventing land access from the south:

Ice barrier applied to south side of Herkimer Meth Bridge
Ice barrier applied to south side of Herkimer Meth Bridge

Only a few days before, an unharvested field of corn had filled the huge cornfield. The corn was gone. The field looked as though it had hosted tank maneuvers:

Freshly harvested cornfield on access road to the Herkimer Meth Bridge
Freshly harvested cornfield on access road to the Herkimer Meth Bridge

Folks who hadn’t recently ventured over to the village’s cornfield road told us the ice was a natural occurrence–West Canada Creek was subject to flooding that would often lay swathes of ice along its banks.

If this was the river god in action, he’d perfectly laid out the ice along the road, paralleling the tree line and the flood control levee. And he’d used some truly impressive equipment.

Herkimer meth bridge giant tire tracks
Bear examines giant tire tracks along cornfield road
Herkimer meth bridge more giant tire tracks
Different giant tire tracks leading toward the Herkimer Meth Bridge. The walking stick is 5 feet long
turnaround-area-for-very-big-vehicles-clearnng-up-herkimer-meth-bridge
Turnaround point for very big vehicles at end of CSX access road from Herkimer’s East State Street.

Other areas of cover and concealment near the cornfield road had also been scrubbed:

undergrowth near Herkimer Meth Bridge scrubbed
Area of undergrowth removed by heavy equipment adjacent to CSX access road from East State Street and cornfield road leading to the Herkimer Meth Bridge.

“So what happens when the ice melts?” I asked Night Court when I sent him some of these pictures. He replied, “Bear looks perplexed.”

After the ice melted the bridge sprouted earthworks, blocking vehicular access:

earthworks-herkimer-meth-bridge
Earthworks defending the Herkimer Meth Bridge

the hammer of god quickly falls

The response to the threat was on the order of the Hammer of God. We were astounded by its scope and speed and the resources it must have required. It may have been drawn from a contingency plan, but there’s many a slip between plan and execution. It was a rapid, meticulous and flawlessly executed, multi-agency effort, probably involving the State of New York, the Federal government and possibly the Army Corp of Engineers.

The law enforcement agencies responsible knew what was traveling across that bridge day and night: the angel of death of the rails, the DOT-111 chemical tanker car. Hundreds of them roll across the Herkimer Meth Bridge every day. No wonder the Big Red Button was pushed.

dot111 chemical car derailment rockford llinois 2009the Series concludes with:

Nightmare Along The Mohawk – The Herkimer Meth Bridge Part 3

 

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan