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Officials float ideas for how to remove Kent ice jam

Posted: Updated:
KENT -

Massive ice jams that have caused flooding and road closures and prompted evacuations from parts of Kent continue to plague the town Thursday, a day after more than 50 state and local officials convened to try and come up with a strategy.

Their discussions included whether to use heavy machinery or dynamite to break up the ice. And they worry that rain and warming temperatures in the coming days may cause more flooding.

Some experts say that flooding would be minimal because water is beginning to recede around the jam, leaving space for runoff to escape when it starts to melt. But others say that there may not be enough rain or melting ice to help float the blockage farther down the Housatonic.

Authorities say there is no immediate threat to the public because below-freezing temperatures have kept the ice in place. They say smaller chunks of ice have combined into a massive object as thick as 12 feet in some parts. 

"We can't let this sit here for two months," says Rep. Brian Ohler. "It would just continue to impede the flow of traffic, inflow of water, but we have a lot of immediate concerns with schools, with houses and other property. We need to remove this in a timely manner, but we're hoping Mother Nature takes her course."

Route 7 from Bulls Bridge Road up to Route 341 remains closed as DOT crews continue to break up ice. Authorities say the Route 341 bridge, which crosses over the ice jam, is stable and passable.

The Kent School remains evacuated, but classes resumed Thursday at the Kent Center School.

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