The highly anticipated resurfacing of Flanders Road, a project that will eventually result in the repaving of the seven-mile stretch between Hampton Bays and the traffic circle in Riverside, is finished for 2014.
After three weeks of work that included partial lane closures along the busy thoroughfare, State Department of Transportation workers repaved 2.7 miles of the highway from Old Riverhead Road in Hampton Bays to Spinney Road North in Flanders. The $5.2 million repaving project will start up again in the spring of 2015, DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters confirmed this week.
Ms. Peters explained that this stretch of highway was the priority section that the DOT wanted to complete before the winter.
“The predicted cold temperatures could prevent successful hot asphalt application,” she wrote in an email on Monday. “For safety reasons, the roadway cannot be left just milled (rough with the old asphalt removed) for long periods, especially over the winter.”
Prior to starting the work, the DOT reported that the four-mile section between Old Riverhead Road and Birch Avenue in Flanders would be done before the winter, and that crews would continue for as long as possible. However, no trucks were seen last Thursday or Friday, nor as of earlier this week.
On Monday, Ms. Peters said the priority for the DOT was to repave up to Spinney Road North. She did not offer an explanation as to why those plans had changed.
Calls for the repaving work were sparked by a fatal accident on Flanders Road in January in which the driver of a PSEG Long Island truck struck another vehicle head-on, killing Barbara Tocci, a 47-year-old grandmother from Hampton Bays. Some residents have blamed the poor condition of the pothole-riddled road for the accident.
Flanders Road is one of a dozen roads across Long Island scheduled to be repaved this fall. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo set aside $100 million for a dozen highways that were categorized as roads that were the most heavily damaged from storms last winter. The project, part of the governor’s Driver’s First initiative, will repave more than 300 miles of highways across Long Island, according to the DOT.
In August, the DOT announced that it would soon install a pair of traffic signals along Flanders Road—one at the intersection of Long Neck Boulevard and another at Oak Avenue in Flanders. Those signal locations were based on studies showing where the greatest number of drivers now attempt to enter and exit Flanders Road.
Ms. Peters said this week that she still does not know when the DOT plans to install the lights, though her office originally stated that it could coincide with the repaving of Flanders Road.
As part of the work, DOT crews will also be repairing and upgrading the curbing and wheelchair ramps in the spring of 2016. There are now sidewalks on both sides of the highway from the traffic circle south to Old Quogue Road. From there, sidewalks continue on the south side of the street to Chauncey Road. On the north side, a sidewalk begins again at Pleasure Drive and runs east until ending just before Fanning Road.
Workers will repair and add new curb ramps in order to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The DOT does not know how much that work will cost or how many curb ramps need to be installed. There are no plans to install additional sidewalks, however.