Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 16 April 2010 00:00
With a new partnership between Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay, the long-awaited Jackson Avenue improvement project is back on track. After federal authorities refused to fund the project after nine months of planning, the project had been left in political limbo, meaning that Jackson Avenue might be left in poor shape for the duration. However, thanks to the efforts of Legislator Judy Jacobs (who initiated the process by going to Venditto in the hopes of cooperating to find an alternate solution), TOB Supervisor John Venditto, County Executive Ed Mangano, and Congressman Steve Israel, the project is on track to begin as early as mid-2010.
In short, the Town will step in to fill the void left by revoked stimulus funds, and will split the cost of the project with the county, an estimated $6 million. After improvements have been made, the Town will be responsible for future maintenance.
Often erroneously referred to as a repaving project, the changes slated for Jackson Avenue are actually more significant; there will be repaving, but also drainage, re-alignment, construction of new sidewalks, and the additions of shoulders and a turning lane. The road will also receive an additional traffic light.
For Jacobs, the safety issues presented by the current state of the road gave the issue a special urgency. A major artery that carries an estimated 25,000 vehicles a day, Jackson Avenue has recently been the site of many accidents, including one fatal accident. Letting the road continue to deteriorate during the potentially long interim while the county re-applied for federal funding seemed to Jacobs like an unacceptable outcome. Jackson Avenue is “truly a danger,” said Jacobs.
Laura Schultz, vice president of Residents For a More Beautiful Syosset, was pleased with revival of the project. “Residents For a More Beautiful Syosset is thrilled with the news of an agreement on the Jackson Avenue reconstruction project! The organization thanks Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Deputy County Executive Rob Walker, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, Congressman Steve Israel, and Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs for all their efforts to secure the needed funding for this project. This long-awaited and much-needed project will enhance the safety of the roadway for all Syosset residents.”
Jacobs views the partnership as a victory for Syosset residents and everyone who uses Jackson Avenue, as well as a great example of Democrats and Republicans working together to make something happen. “This is indicative of what can happen when people work together in a bi-partisan way,” she said.
While it’s not yet clear how long it will take to make all of the structural improvements, Jacobs noted that there are currently no plans to close Jackson Avenue at any point during the process. The goal is to disrupt local traffic as little as possible while construction is under way.