Hank De Cillia’s viewpoint in last week’s Press [“The ‘new’ County Road 39—blessing or curse?” April 16] deserves an answer. First and foremost we owe County Executive Steve Levy a great big thank you for having the courage to bite the bullet and deliver this monumental plus to our well-being and our economy.
A little history if I may: the last major improvement to County Road 39 was the bypass around the Village of Southampton and that was done some 56 years, ago in 1952 to be exact. Since that time, in 1972, the proposed extension of the divided four-lane Sunrise Highway from the Lobster Inn to Amagansett was shot down by the Halt the Highway Committee. In its judgment, this extension would have brought more people to the East End—the people came anyway. So we ended up with the gigantic back-ups with traffic starting at the Lobster Inn and continuing all the way east. We all know the resulting delays and frustration of nurses for our hospital, school teachers, town employees, mechanics, builders, our work force and our citizenry in general.
Now a little about the totally inadequate road that existed before our “new” County Road 39. According to the numbers put together by then-Supervisor Skip Heaney in April 2006, the prior two years on County Road 39 had more than 400 automobile accidents, five deaths and 61 injuries requiring hospitalization. Those numbers are staggering. So, evidently, the alternative according to Mr. De Cillia is to leave the status quo and continue this history of carnage—and please do not mix this up with the very successful shuttle service temporarily supplied by the LIRR. Both the “new” County Road 39 and the shuttle are effective in helping solve our transportation problem.
As far as the traffic mess happening east of the Princess Diner, that is a New York State highway, not under the control of Southampton Town or Suffolk County. Perhaps Mr. De Cillia might better take on the challenge of getting some action out of New York State for a “new” Route 27 highway heading east and join with the rest of us in telling County Executive Steve Levy and County Legislator Jay Schneiderman that they did a helluva good job in creating our “new” County Road 39.