Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 08 April 2011 08:23
The improvements to a dangerous stretch of road have been a long time coming; however, now that it looks like the Jackson Avenue reconstruction project is finally set to begin, residents at the town’s informational meeting, held at the Syosset High School Auditorium on March 30, were understandably concerned about how the major construction project could affect traffic patterns and their safety. To assuage these concerns, town officials spent close to an hour answering questions about these issues.
“We are willing to stay as long as we need to and answer everybody’s questions,” said Richard Betz, Town of Oyster Bay Highway Commissioner. And it seems that they did; after the meeting concluded, many residents went up to the front to look at the construction plans with town personnel in order to determine how the construction might affect their homes.
Legislator Judy Jacobs reviewed the saga of the project for the community: In April 2010, after the federal government revoked stimulus funds that were slated for the project, Jacobs approached the town of Oyster Bay to find a way to get Jackson Avenue back on the agenda. “We had more potholes on that one road than any road I’ve ever seen in my life, and I went to see John Venditto,” said Jacobs.
In a perhaps all-too-rare, but welcome, example of bi-partisan cooperation on behalf of the community, Jacobs explained, the town stepped forward to fill the void left by revoked funds, and planned to split the cost of the project with the county, at that time estimated at $6 million. After the county transferred control of the road to the town in August, 2010, more than six months passed while the plans were redrawn to town specifications, and the project was put out for bidding. The contract was awarded to Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving Inc. of Hicksville on Tuesday, March 8.
Now, the $3.8 million contract H10-033, with a total length of 4,700 linear feet, is scheduled for 500 calendar days- from April 2011 to Sept. 2012. However, Project Manager Dan Midgette explained to attendees that whether the project actually requires the full 500 days, or is completed much more quickly, will be highly dependent on the weather.
The project will include total road reconstruction; roadway widening; removal and replacement of all concrete curbing; replacement of all driveway aprons; an upgrade of all storm drainage; new sidewalks on both sides; removal and replanting of trees; restoration of the utility strip; restoration of fences/flower beds/etc.; and a new traffic light at The Mall and Dawes Avenue. Construction will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Sidestreets off of Jackson Avenue are being considered as detours, however detour routes are subject to town approval and have not been finalized yet. When vehicles need to be moved to accommodate construction, residents will be notified 48 hours in advance. School bus routes may be affected, and the town is currently working with the school district on the issue, said Midgette. However, SORT and sanitation collection will not be affected.
Midgette noted that any fences, flower beds, or other property disturbed by the construction will be replaced.
The project manager also praised Carlo Lizza & Sons Paving Inc. “This
contractor- I’ve worked with them before- is very good at maintaining a clean work area,” said Midgette. “He also is very good at maintaining a safe work area by picking up barrels and cones, and notifying the public where he’s working.” Nevertheless, if any resident wishes to make a claim for damages incurred during the construction period, they should notify the town first; the town will then contact the contractor.
Most residents expressed cautious optimism about the project, but many were concerned about increased traffic on their side streets. However, some, who had been awaiting this project for many years, were more positive. “We are thrilled beyond belief that this is finally coming to fruition,” said Laura Schultz, president of Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset. “We look forward to a beautiful, safer Jackson Avenue.”
Officials from the Town of Oyster Bay Highway Department and Public Works said that they would take all concerns raised at the meeting into consideration before submitting the finalized plans for the detour routes. In response to residents’ question, Betz also noted that they would attempt to maintain two-way traffic on Jackson Avenue during the construction as much as possible in order to keep traffic flowing as per usual.
“Will there be some upheaval? I believe, of course, there will be; you can’t fix a road this size without it, but I believe in the long run, it’s a big positive for all of us,” said Jacobs.
Midgette reminded residents to keep their children away from the construction, to remain patient as the long-awaited work progressed, and above all, to contact him with any and all concerns- not construction workers on the job. “Although we encourage you to bring up questions, or anything in the field as necessary, the contractor’s personnel may not relay anything back to me: Call me,” said Midgette. “If I don’t know about it, I can’t help it.”
For more information about the construction, residents are encouraged to contact project manager Dan Midgette at 677-5897.