Hardy Plumbing
December 14, 2011

Delays On The Horizon For CR39

(click for larger version)
Keep in mind that it will be nice after it's finished. In the meantime, consider your alternate routes and hope the town doesn't decide to embark on projects on the back roads, too.

Suffolk County's proposed $6.5 million plan to widen County Road 39 from the North Sea Road intersection to where CR39 merges into Montauk Highway in Southampton was discussed at Friday's town board work session as county engineer William Hillman broke the news to the town board that the project will begin in the late spring/summer months, just as the tourist season begins.

"The county wouldn't start the project until May or June," he said.

The road expansion is a federally aided project, with 20 percent paid for by the county and 25 percent paid for by the state. Bids for the project, which Hillman hoped are competitive, were set to begin on Monday.

"We're already $1 million over the funded budget," Hillman said. "If there are any delays the contractor is entitled to reimbursement."

Hillman also said that because the project is federally funded, there is a 12-month deadline and if it isn't met, the bulk of the funding would be lost.

Councilwoman Nancy Graboski expressed concern over the probable increase in traffic. "There's already so much traffic here in the summer," she said. "What's going to happen when there's a need for the movement of emergency vehicles? I think it's going to be difficult."

Hillman explained that as the project gets underway, three open lanes (including the center turning lane) would be maintained. However between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM, the center lane would be given to the contractor to work on for a stretch of 2000 feet. This would be the case on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Memorial Day to July 3.

During these times, according to Hillman, flag people will be on hand to assist in the high traffic areas and will help cars shifting lanes. Staff from the New York State Department of Transportation would also be involved.

Between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, all three lanes would be open and available for vehicular traffic.

"If sufficient flag people are there, things should go smoothly," Hillman said, adding, "But it's construction and things can happen."

Hillman anticipates the project to be nearly complete by next winter. This includes having proper drainage, final pavements and road markings in place.

"We have no plan to close the road yet," said Jeff Murphree, Town Planning and Development Administrator.

The proposed project also includes rebuilding intersections at David Whites Lane and North Main Street, with the former getting separate lanes for left turns, right turns and straight traffic.

The County Road 39 draft corridor land use plan was also reviewed at Friday's session. Assistant Town Planning and Development Administrator Freda Eisenberg said the plan is to have a meeting again with the town board in January.

"The issue is that County Road 39 is an established road," she said. "One goal is to maintain highway businesses."

Eisenberg recommended establishing further zoning restrictions on expansions if land uses continue to be grandfathered in. "If that continues, then you're not going to be getting the change you want," she said.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst agreed, noting that changes need to be made quickly.

"I'm starting to feel that time is ticking on this," she said.

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