Federal officials have dropped a plan to divert about 3,000 freight trucks across Long Island Sound and over the North Fork each year, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Thursday.
The "Cross Sound Enhancement Project" proposed carrying the trucks by ferry from Connecticut to Orient Point. It had been included this year in a New York Metropolitan Transportation Council plan to reduce truck traffic on I-95, but drew criticism this spring from officials and residents in Southold and Riverhead.
"This was an ill-conceived plan which was clearly drafted by someone who has never driven on the North Fork," Bellone said in a statement. "I will continue to be a strong voice for working with our local communities to make smart decisions to try to relieve the traffic burden on our already congested roads."
Bellone, who sits on the council, said the group's Program Finance and Administration Committee voted to strike the ferry proposal from the plan on Wednesday.
Suffolk Legis. Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork, credited the county executive and outspoken residents with defeating the plan.
"The rural East End roads are not designed to handle heavy pass-through truck traffic," Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said in a statement. "The diligence of the local community and the commitment of the county executive have prevented the deterioration of our quality of life that this proposal would have created."
The nine-member New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is composed of officials from five counties, the state, New York City and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.