Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Friday signed the 2015-17 capital budget for Suffolk County, which earmarks $5.5 million to improve and repair roads in East Hampton and Springs.
Three Mile Harbor, Springs-Fireplace Road and Hog Creek Road, all of which are county roads, will see pavement rehabilitation, asphalt resurfacing, new curbing and sidewalks, and drainage repairs and upgrades. Funding will begin in 2017 with $550,000 for construction, according to a press release from County Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s office this week.
East Hampton Town Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch said those roads, rightly the responsibility of the county, are far too often maintained by the town.
“I think Springs-Fireplace Road is a lot more dangerous than any of them in terms of road condition,” he said. “The shoulders and drainage on the south end need to be done. The county did from Abraham’s Path to Woodbine Drive years ago, but they need to do from Abraham’s Path to North Main Street.”
He said after two years of “battling” with the county to get more funding, officials promised him drainage, shoulder work and repaving.
“It’s nice to see it come to East Hampton,” he said of the allocation. “It’s all for safety, you know?”
An additional $200,000 is earmarked for water quality improvement with the opening of the east inlet in Napeague Harbor, according to the release, which said that Mr. Schneiderman fought to add and advance funding for the project, which will be funded in 2017.
In a phone interview on Monday, Mr. Schneiderman said opening the east inlet, east of Hicks Island, would be a relatively small project that could be done by crane rather than dredge, and would improve the water quality of the harbor and greatly reduce erosion along Lazy Point.
He said a few years ago, the county opened the west inlet by dredging, and now the current there is very strong and creates a dangerous situation for houses close to the water.
Mr. Schneiderman added that the county may re-dredge the west inlet this fall and place sand where it has eroded away to make it a little deeper and wider. He said the county has been talking with the East Hampton Town Trustees about the issue, but has not yet informed them that money has been saved for the project.
Nothing is set in stone, Mr. Schneiderman said, but in earmarking the money, the county has shown its commitment to fixing the situation.
Another $50,000 will be put aside to fix the roof of the Cedar Point Lighthouse in 2015, Mr. Schneiderman added. The 2015-17 capital budget includes $500,000 for the county’s Historic Restoration and Preservation Fund, which includes more than 10 historic structures, among them Cedar Point Light, across the county.
On a side note, Mr. Schneiderman said the legislature was slated to vote on a bill Tuesday night that would allow a not-for-profit organization to establish a bed-and-breakfast in the lighthouse and use those funds to maintain the building.