North Road in Hampton Bays will be closed to vehicular traffic from Friday, January 4, through the end of February due to ongoing work on the Long Island Rail Road overpass, according to the Southampton Town Transportation Department.
The pending closure will mark the third time in the past year that reconstruction work on the Shinnecock Canal train bridge has forced the closure of North Road to all traffic, rerouting vehicles and buses a mile east to a detour on Peconic Road.
The work is part of a $26.2 million project undertaken by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the start of last year to repair the North Road train overpass, as well as the Montauk Highway and Shinnecock Canal overpasses. North Road, which connects Montauk and Sunrise highways, first closed in January 2012 and reopened just before Memorial Day before closing a second time on September 10 and reopening at the end of October.
Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for MTA, wrote in an email that this should be the last time that North Road is closed to complete the reconstruction work, which includes the removal of the temporary structural supports, the restoration the abutment walls and repairs to the road itself. He added that workers had accounted for weather disruptions in that schedule and said “every attempt will be made by LIRR and the contractor to open the roadway before the end of February.”
Thomas Neely, the town’s transportation and public safety director, said he was only made aware of the closing on Friday, December 21, when he posted a notice on the town website. He said this third closure was not part MTA’s original plan, which called for work in the area to be finished by the start of 2013. He said the work is expected to increase the lifespan of the overpass by an additional 35 to 40 years and was necessary to keep it structurally sound.
Hampton Bays Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen said in an email last week that the district has altered its bus routes in order to transport children to school on time. He said the district will have to cover the costs of the daily rate of one extra bus for the month or so that the road is closed, though he did not have that cost estimate immediately available.
In addition to the work at the North Road overpass, the Montauk Highway bridge construction will also result in single-lane closures in the coming months, Mr. Arena said. That work is slated to be completed by the end of March. Work at the Shinnecock Bridge will not require any closures and is expected to be finished by the end of April.