May 31, 2006

East Hampton Village: Under Construction

An exasperated local motorist once grumbled: Instead of windmills, the official seal of East Hampton should have flagmen and orange cones. Springtime road construction is nothing new, but this year the variety and scope of projects has got even the most savvy back road traveler caught in detours and delays.

For East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell, a construction project manager at heart, if not in title, the projects and the temporary annoyances they cause, are par for the course. In the village alone this year roads have been torn up on Main Street, North Main Street, Mill Hill Lane and Further Lane. To assuage frustration, Cantwell offered an overview of progress on each, and just when drivers may see a light at the end of the cone covered tunnel.

The long aborning North Main Street beautification project is nearing the end of its first phase. A collaborative project between the village, East Hampton Town and Suffolk County, the job included the installation of new drainage to mitigate traditional flooding problems. That part of the work, undertaken by the county, is just about finished.

Curbs, sidewalks and some landscaping have been completed. Except for landscaping finishing touches, that phase of the project will likely be complete within the next couple of weeks. According to Cantwell, the village is waiting on the town to release the money for new streetlights so they can be installed.

In the fall, the county will come back to do a final resurfacing of the road.

Drivers looking to take a southern detour around the bustling village are in for an unpleasant surprise. The Suffolk County Water Authority is replacing old water mains along Further Lane all the way to Amagansett. According to Cantwell, the job could last at least a month more, but workers are expected to finish up the village's section of Further Lane in two weeks. Mill Hill, Dunemere and James Lane have also been torn up. SCWA may come back in the fall to do additional work connecting individual properties to the new line.

At the same time an outfall pipe that connects Hook Pond to the ocean is being replaced. That's been under construction since March and the work "will probably end by the end of June," Cantwell said.

A new restroom at Two Mile Hollow Beach is supposed to be ready before the Fourth of July. That's been framed out already.

All in all, cones and construction workers may be out of drivers' hair by the end of June. But not for long.

The village expects to begin a major project at its Cedar Street facility this fall. The project entails connecting the recently acquired parking lot on North Main Street with the lot behind the Emergency Services building to create one big parking lot. The design adds extra parking spaces for both the public and EMS workers who use the Cedar Street facility.

In other village news, non-resident beach stickers sold out last week. They've been on sale since February at $250 a pop, with many customers making their purchases through the mail. In recent years the board has increased the number of non-resident permits they print to the current 2600. However, in order to ensure that residents can also enjoy village beaches, officials keep a cap on the number they sell. They will continue to issue as many resident permits, which are free, as long as there are residents who want them, Cantwell said.

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