The state has finished a major renovation of the LIE and Northern State Parkway overpasses above Route 110 in the Town of Huntington and is widening a stretch of the major north-south artery to three lanes in both directions, officials said Tuesday.
By the time the overall project is completed in May, it will have cost more than $100 million and will open the Melville area to further development, the officials said.
The town had begun planning about six years ago for the next wave of growth, Supervisor Frank Petrone said in an interview Tuesday, and it expects to hire a consultant this year to help it shape the Melville of the future.
"We look at this as an opportunity. If we want the 110 corridor to keep growing, and if we want it to remain one of the economic centers of Long Island, we must do this planning work," Petrone said.
'The 110 disaster'
In advertising for a consultant this summer, the town said it wanted to make Melville more pedestrian-friendly by adding enhancements including sidewalks, improving mass transit, discouraging warehouse uses and encouraging research and development.
The three projects had staggered starts going back several years and should result in a 2-mile stretch of Route 110 that is three lanes wide, up from the current two, and improved ramp access at the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State Parkway.
The on-and-off work on some phases of the project has at times strained the tempers of commuters and residents. John Jaskolski, 67, whose house on Piermont Drive abuts the roadway calls it: "The 110 disaster."
"Workers are out there one day; they're gone the next day," he said. "I understand progress, but do the right thing."
Huntington resident Michael Herman, 72, said he drives through the area five days a week as a hardware sales rep and calls the traffic "terrible."
"I'm not thrilled with it, but there's nothing I can do," he said.
Road to be widened
As the Route 110 state project enters its final phase, Suffolk County has begun work on widening a nearby intersection where Colonial Springs Road meets Ruland Road at Pinelawn Road, another major north-south artery.
A stretch of Colonial Springs Road, about eight-tenths of a mile, linking Little East Neck Road to Ruland Road, where it extends west to Route 110, will be widened to two lanes.
"People from the South Shore from western Suffolk come up Little East Neck, to Colonial Springs and go right into Route 110," Suffolk County Legis. Louis D'Amaro (D-North Babylon) said. "You could be backed up on that road for a good half-mile in the morning, yet it provides major access to the 110 corridor."
D'Amaro, who helped secure funding for the $18.5 million project, said that work should be finished within 18 months. The funding will also pay for a smaller project farther south on Pinelawn Road, where lanes will be realigned to allow traffic on Long Island Avenue to connect directly to Conklin Street across Pinelawn, he said.
"With the enhanced pedestrian facilities... this [the overall project] is a major face-lift for the corridor that will encourage more workers to walk, eliminates bottlenecks, improves the safety and mobility of millions of drivers each week, and helps sustain and attract businesses to this vital corridor," state DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said in an email Tuesday.