The State Department of Transportation plans to install two new traffic lights this fall along Flanders Road in Flanders, at the intersections of Long Neck Boulevard and Oak Avenue, following the completion of an extensive survey focusing on the busy corridor.
On Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the DOT noted that details of the work are still being finalized, and that additional surveys and design work still must be completed. As a result, the state agency does not know how much the preliminary work and installation will cost, though earlier estimates note that it typically runs about $100,000 to install a single traffic light once all the costs are factored in.
The intersections were picked based on the number of drivers who attempt to enter and exit Flanders Road from Long Neck Boulevard and Oak Avenue, according to the DOT.
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced on Tuesday afternoon that the DOT had approved the two installations earlier in the day, and that both lights could be installed as early as this fall—around the same time that the DOT intends to repave the stretch of Flanders Road between the traffic circle in Riverside and Bellows Pond Road in Hampton Bays, where the state installed a traffic light in 2009. That light was the first one installed along a nearly 7.5-mile stretch of Flanders Road that begins at the intersection of County Road 105 to the north and ends at Old Riverhead Road in Hampton Bays to the south.
The two new traffic lights, once installed, will be located approximately 1.5 miles apart, and their locations were selected following a survey of the road that was recently completed by the DOT.
“We’ve got three things coming together right now,” Mr. Thiele said when reached on Tuesday evening. “The repavement of State Road 24, the approval of the rehabilitation of the traffic circle in Riverside, and now we’ve got the two traffic lights. This will collectively improve the safety of the area.”
The widening of the traffic circle in Riverside, a $4 million project that’s being funded by Suffolk County, is not scheduled to start until early 2016, but the repaving of the stretch of Flanders Road between the traffic circle and Bellows Pond Road in Hampton Bays is set to begin in the fall of this year.
Mr. Thiele explained that he has worked closely with members of the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association, or FRNCA, to address traffic safety issues on the state-owned highway. FRNCA members, along with other community groups, have been urging the DOT to install traffic lights to slow down drivers. The speed limit along Flanders Road varies from 30 mph to 45 mph, though locals frequently complain of drivers exceeding the speed limit.
“We’re very happy and very grateful,” FRNCA President Vince Taldone said on Tuesday evening. “We’ve been advocating for signals at key intersections for quite some time, primarily because of the safety issue.”
Mr. Taldone said he and his group have been discussing the project with Mr. Thiele and the DOT for about two years. “There are people on that road moving at a rapid clip,” he noted, “and it’s difficult for anyone, especially our older drivers, to turn onto [Flanders Road]. There are some times of the day where there’s no way to see clearly enough to get across as a driver or pedestrian.”
Heavy traffic on Flanders Road has been a problem for many years. The first new light on the road was installed in 2009 at the intersection of Bellows Pond Road in Hampton Bays.
“Step by step, I think we’re making progress for that area,” Mr. Thiele said.