It may seem like one continuous project to the public but according to the New York State Department of Transportation the work is actually two separate projects with multiple funding sources. While the NYSDOT says that work is on schedule to end this fall and they are doing what they can to move vehicles along, traffic headaches for drivers and the resulting effect on business for shop owners along the roadway will continue over the summer.
“Both projects are similar NYSDOT safety and mobility improvement projects,” said Eileen Peters, a NYSDOT representative. “Both are currently on or about schedule and both should be completed by the end of Fall 2011 weather permitting.”
The first project was announced back in 2009 at a cost of $37.9 million. According to Peters, most of the money for the project comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
“As you may recall, this was special ‘stimulus’ funding,” said Peters.
The stimulus funds total $37,015,010 and the rest will come from some State Bond Act funds.
The goal of the project is to renovate a three-mile section of Route 112 between Pine Road and Route 347, improving safety as well as encouraging the use of green transportation options.
In addition to replacing what the NYSDOT says is 79-year old pavement they will be installing center turning lanes to increase traffic flow and raised center medians for safety. As for green transportation options, a statement by the DOT said that new bike lanes, sidewalks, bus stops and shelters will be built to “encourage the use of energy-efficient transportation use–whether through biking or Suffolk County Transit.” New landscaping and storm-water runoff filtration systems will also be installed.
The NYSDOT says that drivers should continue to expect daytime travel lane closures between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Final paving operations well be performed at night, probably this fall, when the average daily traffic counts for this section of roadway are significantly lower than during the day,” Peters said.
The second project bookends the first on Route 112. This part costs $33.1 million and will renovate Route 112 between Old Town Road and Pine Road then skips over to Routes 347 north up to Route 25A.
According to Peters this project is funded by a combination of 80 percent Federal funds and 20 percent state funding, none of which comes from the ‘stimulus’ package.
“Work on the location between Old Town Road to Pine Road should be completed this summer, weather permitting,” she said.
During construction north of Route 347, there will be one lane of travel in each direction along with a dedicated left turning lane maintained at all times.
“There may be some lane shifts during off-peak daytime travel times between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to accommodate various construction work tasks,” Peters said.
She also said that she thought that the two lanes of traffic and the center turning lane north of Route 347 are “accommodating traffic fairly well.”
Business owners are certainly feeling the sting of ongoing construction.
Heavy machinery lines the periphery of the roadway, with most sidewalk areas still torn up. The ongoing project has also resulted in deterioration of the road itself, with large potholes and uneven pavement throughout. Traffic stalls along the entire construction zone and backs up especially around the intersection of Routes 112 and 347.
Michael Bolognesi, owner of , a repair shop on Route 112, said the ongoing construction is costing him business.
“People don’t want to drive on this road,” he said. “I actually just had a woman come in with a blown tire that was caused by the roadway.”
Tires are not the only things drivers have to worry about.
“Suspension components can be damaged by these conditions too,” Bolognesi said.
Bolognesi also said that he was never informed of a finish date for the project.
Lynne Smolak, manager of on Route 112, echoed Bolognesi's sentiment. She said that customers tell her that they have figured out ways to alter their commute to avoid Route 112.
“There is no doubt it has affected business,” Smolak said.
However, she has a more pragmatic overall view of the situation.
“They need to fix the roads, and I think they are doing a good job,” she said. “I see them out there working hard, in the rain, in the snow, they seem to be working quickly.