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Flood Mitigation on Middle Neck Road

Flooding on Middle Neck Road during intense rainstorms has been severe in recent years, damaging property and posing a threat to the safety of residents.

Next summer Nassau County will be doing extensive roadwork on MIddle Neck Road to improve the drainage at low points between Beverly Road and Preston Road. Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth, who advocated successfully for the funding, coordinated a public meeting last week to inform the community about the $1.8 million capital project.

Meetings have already been held with school district and religious institutions’ transportation administrators to develop plans to minimize bussing complications during the project.

Tim Quinn, from the engineering firm, Nelson & Pope, described the five-phase project. Also present at the meeting was Rakhal Maitra, the assistant deputy director of Nassau County’s Department of Public Works. According to Mr. Quinn, the project is designed to corral the water effectively in a 10-year flood. (According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 10-year flood has a 10 percent chance of occurrence in any given year.)

Mr. Quinn said that a 2-inch rainfall in an hour quickly overwhelms the present drainage system. A 4 foot by 6 foot box culvert, near the Old Mill Road intersection, is around 75 years old and is inadequate for the job. It will be replaced, larger diameter pipes installed and more catch basins added at strategic points.

The first phase is estimated to last for four weeks and will begin where Old Mill Road intersects with Middle Neck Road. The construction company will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week during phases one and two. Traffic will be allowed in the area; however, there will only be one lane in each direction. This intense period of work is expected to last a total of seven weeks.

Stages three, four and five will take nine more weeks and will occur during normal working hours between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The work is being done in phases to minimize traffic impacts.

There was a lengthy discussion about the need to communicate with the public about exactly where and when the roadwork will be taking place so that drivers can avoid those areas if possible and emergency vehicles can maneuver better through the north end of town. Legislator Bosworth said her office could facilitate communication between the county and the public utilizing the newspapers and public television access stations. Portable electronic message boards may be used as well.

According to Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, the project should be finished over the course of the summer before the High Holidays and the beginning of the regular school year.

Some residents from nearby side streets that experience flooding as well, attended and asked whether improvements could be made in their areas, too. Other people asked about whether underground springs in the vicinity had been taken into account in the design.

Mr. Quinn stated that Nassau County is primarily responsible for drainage on Middle Neck Road and that the scope and cost of the project was limited to that discrete area.

Concerns were also expressed about the re-routing of traffic during the periods of time when lanes will be constricted.

Overall,s there was agreement that drainage upgrades on sections of Middle Neck Road are critically needed and that there will also be a need for ingenuity and communication to smooth the inconveniences of construction work. It is anticipated that a construction contract will be awarded next April so that work can commence shortly. There are some easement issues that should be resolved in the coming months as well.

Legislator Bosworth said, “We are especially grateful to have the money awarded from the county to do this work during these economic hard times.”