West Shore Road in Mill Neck, a key North Shore artery, reopened Monday afternoon -- three weeks ahead of schedule -- after emergency repairs of superstorm Sandy damage and a previously planned reconstruction.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Bayville Mayor Douglas Watson and Mill Neck trustee Theodore B. Smith Jr. cut a ceremonial ribbon, officially reopening both lanes of the 2-mile road along Oyster Bay Harbor for the first time since the Oct. 29 superstorm.
The $9.2-million project, in addition to repairing several undermined sections, fully reconstructed the center section, as planned before the storm.
"The rebuilding of the West Shore Road seawall and roadway is symbolic of Nassau County moving forward and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy," Mangano said.
Watson praised the county's handling of the project, adding, "We're glad to have it back."
During the closure, most businesses in the village suffered, Bayville Chamber of Commerce president Vinny Moscata said before the reopening, particularly restaurants that relied heavily on out-of-towners. "A lot of people wouldn't come in through the back roads."
Merchants "most definitely" want the second and third phases of the reconstruction to be done with single-lane closures and no detours, he said, adding, "There is no way they want to go through another closing of the whole road."
Matthew Silver, chief operating officer of the Crescent Beach Club in Bayville, said, "Because of the lack of traffic, we actually had to close our restaurant for the off-season" more than a week after the storm. "We had no one dining in the restaurant."
It reopened last month after closing in the off-season for only the second time in 20 years.
Gerianne Reilly, owner of Over the Bridge, a home decor store just north of the drawbridge in Bayville, said, "Christmas was OK, but after that it was like someone turned off the switch in Bayville, and the store was just dead."
But Suzanne Rust, owner of Suzie Cakez, a bakery on Bayville Avenue on the detour route, said the project actually helped her business. "With the road being closed, everybody had to leave through the end of town, so the businesses on that end did better because everybody stopped and shopped local. The road being open will be bad for my business, but good for me personally." She usually leaves Bayville via West Shore Road, when it's open.
Utility poles were removed from the water side of the road and new ones erected on the west side, with the power and other utility lines buried. Streetlights have not been installed yet, pending approval of the design by the Long Island Power Authority, according to Nassau public works spokesman Michael Martino.
Cost: $9.2 million. Includes $1.7 million in emergency repairs for superstorm Sandy damage along entire 2-mile road, plus seawall reconstruction added to the $7.5 million previously planned reconstruction project for the deteriorating center section. The county added the replacement of 450 feet of seawall south of Cleft Road lost in storm. That section of the seawall was originally to be replaced during second phase of work.
Still to be done to complete current phase: Pouring concrete between seawall and guardrail, additional paving and permanent striping. Sheet metal must be driven to complete seawall south of Cleft Road. This will require short closures until July Fourth.
What's next: Reconstruction of southern third of road scheduled to begin by end of year.