Part 2 of a 3 part series, 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:
The ice was neatly sculpted, as became more apparent when a few months later it began to melt:
The other side of the bridge had been given the same treatment, preventing land access from the south:
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:
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.
Other areas of cover and concealment near the cornfield road had also been scrubbed:
“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:
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.