Albany Announces $157M In LI Road-Paving Projects

By GREGORY ZELLER

April 19, 2022

Originally published in Innovate LI on April 19, 2022.

A harsh winter has left Long Island roadways battered, but help is on the way: a $157 million package of “pavement renewal projects” aiming to smooth things over on some of the Island’s busiest and most bruised roadways.

All told, 480 “lane miles” are slated to be repaved across Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to a plan announced Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, with key sections of the Southern State Parkway, the Meadowbrook State Parkway and the Long Island Expressway – ground zero for regional motorist’s simmering dissatisfaction with Albany’s road-maintenance efforts – topping the list.

With Island byways in shambles, Islanders demanding action and phones ringing off the hook at the New York State Department of Transportation’s pothole-reporting hotline, Hochul – who’s made road repairs a cornerstone of her shaky gubernatorial campaign – actually upped the stakes since January, when her state budget proposal included $25 million for LIE and Northern Boulevard pothole repairs.

The $157 package announced Tuesday increases the scope and funding of regional road repairs – “help(ing) ensure smoother travel and fewer hassles for the tens of thousands of commuters who use these vital traffic arteries,” according to Hochul.

“Long Island has some of the busiest highways in the United States,” the governor said Tuesday. “With the adoption of this historic capital plan, we will give communities the infrastructure they need to unleash their full potential, enhancing connectivity, restoring essential roads and bridges and correcting injustices of the past.”

Work on the LIE is slated to focus on 287 lane miles – a calculation of length multiplied by lanes (five miles of a three-lane highway equals 15 lane miles) – between the Nassau/Suffolk border and Route 112 (Exit 64). This $80.1 million portion of the larger repaving project will cover HOV lanes, main travel lanes and 62 on/off ramps, with work expected to begin later this week and take place mostly at night.

Twenty-three lane miles of the Meadowbrook State Parkway between Merrick Road and Ocean Parkway are projected to be resurfaced by Memorial Day (weather-permitting), according to the governor’s office, while 63 lane miles of the Southern State Parkway – between Grand Avenue and the Nassau/Suffolk border – are “scheduled for substantial completion” by the end of the year.

Other pavement-restoration efforts – including work on different sections of the Southern State and on various portions of State Route 114, State Route 25A, Sunrise Highway’s north and south service roads and other critical Long Island arteries – are expected to begin this year and be completed by the end of 2023.

Numerous Long Island lawmakers lent cheering voices to the governor’s announcement. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-9th Dist.) noted that “Long Islanders deserve well-paved streets and a smooth drive,” Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-East Setauket) applauded the “new influx of funding and projects” and State Sen. John Brooks (D-8th Dist.) hailed Hochul “for recognizing this as a significant need for Long Island and putting up the funding to take it on.”

“This has been one of the worst pothole seasons on Long Island in recent memory, and we need to do whatever it takes to fix our roads the right way,” added State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-7th Dist.). “That’s why I fought like hell to get more money in our state budget for repaving … and $157 million of help is now on the way to Long Island to combat this crisis.

“As always, I’m grateful for Governor Hochul’s attention to our infrastructure on Long Island, and particularly her focus on repaving our pothole-plagued roads.”