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Apr 14, 2016 2:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Repaving Work In Hampton Bays Causes Major Traffic Jams Over Three Days

A construction truck on Main Street in Hampton Bays. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Apr 20, 2016 10:01 AM

Alex Sanidad, like many of her neighbors in Hampton Bays, could not believe how far traffic was backed up in their hometown during their commute last Thursday morning, April 14.

She said she was at a complete standstill on Montauk Highway as she tried to make her way east to the Long Island Rail Road station in Hampton Bays for her commute to Manhattan. She recalled being at a dead stop in front of the Friendly’s on Montauk Highway, glancing at the clock almost every minute, and realizing that she would never make her train.

So she swung her car around and tried to catch the train at the Speonk station—only to miss it by a few minutes, forcing her to wait more than an hour for the next one. She was several hours late for work.

Ms. Sanidad was not alone in her frustration—many motorists said they experienced 30- to 40-minute delays during their morning commutes on Thursday, Friday and Monday, as Suffolk County began repaving a one-mile stretch of Montauk Highway. The work, which spanned from the Flanders Road intersection all the way to the King Kullen plaza, was originally supposed to have been completed two weeks prior but was delayed due to bad weather.

The work, part of a $1.8 million initiative, was completed on Monday, according to county officials.

Even though a lane in each direction was left open during the three days of repaving, lengthy delays were the norm, according to drivers.

“What’s particularly vexing to me is why they have to do this work at rush hour,” Ms. Sanidad said. “I understand that work has to be done on the roads, but someone really needs to be smarter about the timing.”

Crews began working at 7 a.m. last Thursday and, for the most part, wrapped up around 5 p.m. all three days, according to Vanessa Baird, a county spokesperson.

Nancy Zatarga, an office manager at South Fork Podiatry in Hampton Bays, who also lives in the hamlet, added that most of her co-workers who live west of the practice were late to work last week due to the traffic. “Everyone who was traveling from the west to here was 45 minutes late,” she said. “That’s the truth. It was horrendous.”

She also noted that none of her co-workers was expecting the delays. Suffolk County had advertised the closures on electronic signs, including one near the Sunrise Highway exit that advised motorists to avoid Montauk Highway, if possible. Further complicating the issue was that many did not know about the work, or that it had been originally scheduled to be completed during the first week of April.

Not helping the traffic situation was unrelated work being completed on a Montauk Highway bridge in East Quogue a few miles to the west of the repaving at the same time.

The repaving work in Hampton Bays wrapped up a day before Suffolk County and Southampton Town initiated a three-day blinking light program on County Road 39 in Shinnecock Hills, an initiative designed to see if switching the traffic light at Tuckahoe Road to a yellow-blinking light could help ease congestion on that artery. The pilot program was scheduled to wrap up today, April 21.

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Delays for a few weeks due to road work is not a major. Give the contractor credit, they are working around all the traffic to keep things moving. If you want your roads repaired you must expect some delays. Just take a deep breath and leave a little earlier. Geeeeeez
By Resident tax (165), Hampton bays ny on Apr 14, 16 4:24 PM
3 members liked this comment
Main Street looks good, I hope they are not finished as there some traffic lines are missing and are going to cause an accident near Springville and there is still a good size bump where the paving ended.
By Resident tax (165), Hampton bays ny on Apr 16, 16 2:57 PM
What really backs up traffic leaving town to head east, is all the people making a U-turn at the Canoe Place red light westbound, to head east.

If said U-turn were illegal, traffic would move along much better...
By Mr. Z (11376), North Sea on Apr 14, 16 9:05 PM
Southampton Town police had one eastbound lane closed by hill station road most of the early trip. I think it had little to do with Hampton Bays paving
By bpcooke (12), Southampton on Apr 14, 16 9:55 PM
I don't understand why they cant do road work at night. If the expressway can be worked on at night then why not here? Isn't that more logical?
By minnie mouse (9), southampton on Apr 15, 16 8:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
What about the new curb creation on pon and mon ???????Summertime backups here we come
By baymen (26), hamptonbays on Apr 18, 16 4:56 AM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser