Visible work has begun on the Long Island Expressway expansion/bridge project. The preliminary construction activity between exits 32 and 40 began earlier this summer. The public reaction to the first steps were visceral and dramatic, as entire areas of trees were cleared, leaving vast, open spaces.
The dismal beginning of progress on the LIE.
The Great Neck Record has received many phone calls from concerned residents---often angry, frustrated, and very distressed onlookers. The main area of concern and distress, has been the destruction of so many large, old trees. The once attractive expressway service road is now a mass of raw, ragged stumps and exposed, parched vegetation. Said one resident, ''It's no longer a pretty, country road to ride along.''
The destruction surrounding this LIE construction has come as a unpleasant surprise to many residents.
The New York State Department of Transportation, in charge of accomplishing the expressway work, has issued a statement saying that they ''understand the initial shock,'' but that this work is necessary for the project, and that new landscaping will be added toward the end of the project.
The DOT released the following statement to the Record : ''Construction activity in connection with the LIE bridge project between exits 32 and 40 began in mid-July. As you have seen, the area between Community Drive and Lakeville Road along the North Service Road has been cleared of all vegetation. Although the surrounding villages to this project were involved in discussions with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) throughout the design stages of this project, NYSDOT understands that it is an initial shock to the surrounding community when an area is actually cleared. Nonetheless, this is a necessary requirement in order to begin the actual construction work. The LIE bridges over Community Drive and Lakeville Road will be widened as part of this project. Due to the steep slope of the land between the LIE and the North Service Road, retaining walls must be built in order to hold back the earth at these locations. This is why the area had to be cleared. In the later stages of the project, the area along these retaining walls will be extensively landscaped to fill in the area and give it a more aesthetically appealing appearance.''