State and Local Officials Begin Long-Overdue Overhaul of Long Island’s Aging Roads and Bridges

Have the mass infrastructure issues plaguing Nassau and Suffolk become too much for local government to deal with? Are they doing too little, too late?

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Photo by: OlinEJ

Long Island, NY – October 12, 2017 - If you’re a Long Islander and you own a car, you’re no doubt familiar with the miles and miles of roadways and bridges that are scattered throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, many of them prime examples of the aging and crumbling infrastructure that is plaguing the United States as a whole. It’s certainly made more than one resident take notice and wonder where exactly their tax dollars have been going, if not to the maintenance of the very roadways they travel to work upon daily in order to pay those aforementioned taxes. 
 
Alas, the economy, still in a state of slow recovery, has lead in part to this neglect of our infrastructure, and time and the elements have finally come to collect their due; one need only to look upon the patchwork roads we travel on, covered with tar and potholes, to see that. In addition, many of Long Island’s parkways are currently not up to the task of managing the amount of traffic they are currently burdened with; Southern State, for example – infamous for traffic jams and dangerous driving conditions – was designed and built in 1927, a time when the population on Long Island was but a fraction of what it is now.
 
Thankfully, Federal, State and local governments are starting to finally pour resources – and more importantly, money – into addressing these eyesores in an effort to make Long Island roadways safer and more effective for residents. The question is, however, is it too little, too late? Have the issues become insurmountable?
 
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently revealed in a report that $27 billion is needed to effect proper repairs upon the 17,462 bridges throughout New York; 8,834 of those bridges are owned by local governments or municipalities, while the rest are state-run. On Long Island, approximately 40.6 percent of the bridges are considered “functionally obsolete” and not able to meet current design standards for the amount of traffic carried, although they are not yet structurally unsound. Given enough time, however, this could easily change, and the longer repairs are delayed, the more costly – and less safe – they will eventually be. 
 
In addition, these “functionally obsolete” bridges may have inadequate lane or shoulder widths, in addition to low clearances that often result in oversized trucks getting wedged underneath them; one prominent culprit in that regard is the Long Island Rail Road’s 103-year-old bridge that carries the Main Line over Post Avenue at the Westbury train station, a structure that was recently announced for imminent replacement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. However, this still leaves many bridges on Long Island – over 50, according to Comptroller DiNapoli – that are still woefully inadequate. New York State is stepping in to assist local municipalities that cannot afford to their own bridge renovations, but the problem is so widespread, DiNapoli notes, that Federal funding will be required as well.
 
As for our roadways, the current outlook is better; Governor Cuomo recently announced a $67.9 million infrastructure investment for projects to pave and repair 99.9 lane miles of state roads across Long Island during the summer and fall of this year, including projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Already underway is the complete repaving of the entire length of the Wantagh State Parkway – 17.8 miles in total, at a cost of $18.7 million – between Ocean Parkway and Northern State Parkway in the towns of Hempstead, Oyster Bay, and North Hempstead. Numerous other projects throughout both Nassau and Suffolk are ongoing or will begin soon, with the majority of these projects being carried out in the evening to minimize traffic impacts. These additional projects include:
 
  • 3.5 miles on Route 24 from the New York City line to Nassau Boulevard in the town of Hempstead,
  • 2.7 miles on Route 25 from South Oyster Bay Road to the Nassau/Suffolk county line in the town of Oyster Bay
  • 28.5 miles on Route 107 from Route 24 to Route 25 in the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay7.8 miles on Route 25 from Robbins Lane to South Oyster Bay Road in the town of Oyster Bay
  • 4.6 miles on Route 106 between Old Country Road and Route 107 in the town of Oyster Bay
  • 4.4 miles on Route 231 between the Southern State Parkway and Interstate 495 (Long Island Expressway) in the towns of Babylon and Huntington
  • 5.3 miles on Route 25 between County Route 35 and Kings Park Road in the towns of Huntington and Smithtown
  • 3.4 miles on Route 25A between the Route 25A Bypass and Wading River Manor Road in the towns of Brookhaven and Riverhead
  • 5.6 miles on Route 27A between the Robert Moses Causeway and County Route 13 in the town of Islip
  • 5.1 miles on Interstate 495 eastbound from Ocean Avenue to Route 112 in the towns of Islip and Brookhaven
  • 11.2 miles on Montauk Highway from Knoll Road to Tuckahoe Lane in the town of Southampton
In addition, some local governments are digging deep and getting essential roadwork done in their respective regions as well; the Town of Brookhaven, for example, is currently in the midst of a $1 resurfacing project, with their highway department currently engaged in repairing the residential roads in Farmingville in the vicinity of South Howell Avenue, removing and replacing curbs and sidewalks in addition to the work they are doing on the roadways themselves.
 
Finally, politicians are beginning to address the many infrastructure issues that have been the source of great ire for local residents for many years, but we at LongIsland.com would like to know what you, our readers, think on the problem. Are you happy that our roadways and bridges are finally starting to get a little TLC, or do you think too little is being done after years of neglect? We want to know how you feel.