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Jun 18, 2019 1:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Construction Faces Setbacks And Continues Into Busy Season

Construction in the alleyway closed a portion of the sidewalk between 103 and 105 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Jun 19, 2019 10:25 AM

Construction of the alleyway and rear parking lot in Westhampton Beach, the first phase of the village’s major Main Street reconstruction project, hit several delays and is now spilling into the summer season, a time when local businesses prefer as little disruption as possible.

Officials planned for construction to be complete before Memorial Day weekend but are now postponing the end date to more than a month later. Westhampton Beach Village Deputy Mayor Ralph Urban said they expect to have it finished before the Fourth of July.

The $1.2 million project entails installing two hydrodynamic separators underneath a parking lot located behind 103 and 105 Main Street, where Sugar Daddy’s Toy Store, Messina Jewelry and Fahrenheit 451 are located, as well as replacing an underground brick culvert between the two buildings that drains stormwater from throughout the village down Moniebogue Canal and into Moniebogue Bay.

Local business owners said they are unhappy with the timeliness of the project and wished that it was complete during the offseason, when the village has considerably fewer shoppers.

For some shops on Main Street that sell luxury items, losing one or two customers could cost hundreds of dollars. The work in the rear parking lot is taking up roughly a dozen parking spots that residents and visitors used.

“We do reinforce that we’re doing it as quickly as possible. We did authorize overtime for the construction work to try to facilitate getting things done, but the weather hasn’t cooperated,” Mr. Urban said, adding that he and Mayor Maria Moore visit the job site almost daily and have spoken to affected business owners.

He continued, “We have posted signs that all the stores are open and that the walkway is open. There is a little detour for the sidewalk area, and we are supporting them as much as we can—but there’s no question that it is a disruption and a change in routine. So we’ve got to get it done and get out of there.”

Mr. Urban cited a handful of setbacks, like the fact that the permit approval from the State Department of Environmental Conservation took longer than expected, delaying the start of the work by three months, and then the discovery that the two buildings needed to be shored up, requiring a sequence of concrete fillings.

“It was a process that delayed things a great deal,” he said of the shoring work.

Contractors also ran into contamination in the water and soil at the site that was higher than they expected, necessitating the removal of all contamination and replacement of the soil, Mr. Urban explained. One of the two hydrodynamic separators also did not arrive on time, Ms. Moore said in April.

As for the rest of the Main Street project, village officials made the bid package available on Monday, June 17, for contractors to pick up, Ms. Moore said in an email. The bid submission deadline is Friday, July 12, at 2 p.m.

The remaining work includes constructing two traffic circles, burying utility lines and installing new sidewalks.

Mr. Urban said that the bid package includes two timeline options. One is a two-year plan, with work to run from October through April or May over two years, and the other is a one-year plan, with work to run from October 1 through mid-May. The latter option would likely cost more and require longer work days, Mr. Urban noted.

Several contractors have already picked up bid packages from Village Hall, he said.

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