A Verizon spokesman said that the company will be expediting the Noyac Road project and will have its lines relocated by Memorial Day Weekend. The six remaining poles will be moved sometime after that.
Work crews from the company were on scene working on splicing in new lines hung from the four new poles installed on the south side of the roadway on Thursday morning.
Southampton Town contractors were prepared to begin work next week on the realignment of Noyac Road where it passes Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone General Store, but the plans have been put on hold, perhaps for as long as two months, by delays in the related relocation of utility poles and phone lines owned by Verizon.
Verizon’s crews halted the preparatory work they had been doing to move their poles and phone lines last week, called away by emergency repairs to fiber-optic cables elsewhere in the region, according to Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor. He said the phone company told him that it could be late June before crews are free again to complete the work in Noyac.
“I told them that is unacceptable,” said Mr. Gregor, who also penned a letter to Verizon execs decrying the “unprofessionalism” of the company’s approach. “They have known about this project for three years—we gave all the utilities a schedule months ago, and everyone else got their portion done.”
If the phone company cannot move its equipment until well into June, Mr. Gregor said, the project may have to be put on hold until after the summer.
Early this week, large flashing signs began warning motorists on the busy bypass of the impending road work, and the traffic congestion it will likely cause as lanes are shifted. The work was to have gotten under way by May 5 and was expected to take two months to complete, with hopes of wrapping up by the July 4 holiday week and the eight-week deluge of traffic it brings.
The utility has to move its lines and was left the responsibility of moving five utility poles that held both power lines and phone lines. The lines used by PSEG Long Island have already been relocated to the south side of the existing roadway, where the new traffic lanes will be laid whenever the project gets started.
The project, after years of debate, is to shift the roadway, softening the curve that passes the two popular storefronts and creating a parking area in front of them that is separated from traffic lanes by a broad concrete curb.
Since taking office in 2010, Mr. Gregor has made the project a high priority. He battled frequently over the designs for the work with area residents and the owners of the two stores, as well as with Town Board members, until a version agreeable to all sides was finally settled on last fall.
The project is slated to cost approximately $522,000, and was awarded to Delalio Coal & Stone last August. In his letter to Verizon, which he also sent to U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, Mr. Gregor noted that the phone company has already dedicated its time and equipment to the project for the next two months.
Mr. Gregor said this week that delaying the work by weeks or, potentially, months just continues the hazard that the old roadway design creates, which has been exacerbated in recent weeks by more vehicles using Noyac Road to bypass the traffic delays caused by repaving on Montauk Highway.