In March, National Grid worked on a gas line on my street in Islip. Part of the street was left unpaved, covered by a piece of plywood, and my cobblestone curb was dug up and large chunks of cement thrown into my garden bed. Numerous calls have not resulted in repair.
-- Debbie Ryan, Islip
Our phone calls to National Grid last month determined that the work Ryan refers to involved the authority's installation of water service to a neighbor across the street. National Grid did make a visit during the work, but only to inspect the site and make sure that no gas lines were struck during the project, said National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd.
So we called the Suffolk County Water Authority. Less than two weeks later the authority reported a new coat of asphalt was in place, with sealed edges in accordance with Town of Islip specifications. New paving stones were also installed.
"Because the water main on this street was on the opposite side of the road from the home, an SCWA crew dug on Ms. Ryan's side of the road," SCWA spokesman Tim Motz said in an email. "However, while digging, the crew apparently encountered an obstruction -- perhaps a rock -- that impeded their ability to reach the water main from that location."
The crew was able to reach the water main by moving just to the north, he said, and completed the project. That second location was patched and sealed, he said, but Ryan's spot was not repaired because the work crew's paperwork didn't note that further restoration work was needed there.
The SCWA doesn't carry plywood, Motz said, so it's likely someone else -- perhaps another neighbor -- placed the covering over the unfinished project.
"We want to thank both Newsday and Ms. Ryan for bringing this to our attention, as we take great pride in being good neighbors and fully restoring any roads on which we undertake projects, and in a timely manner," Motz said.
-- MICHAEL R. EBERT
Here's the back story: In 2010, the state Department of Transportation, in response to residents' complaints, conducted a traffic study of the intersection. As a result, new left-turn signals were installed on Dix Hills Road and the traffic signal sequence was changed so northbound and southbound cars wouldn't be moving through the intersection at the same time.
But those changes weren't sufficient for Wendy Natalone of Dix Hills: She wanted one more left-turn arrow, for westbound drivers on Jericho Turnpike turning south onto Dix Hills Road. Only one vehicle can get through before the light turns red, she said.
We contacted the state Department of Transportation early last year, which led to the latest traffic study. The results came last month: No changes are needed.
During six hours of on-site observation, "only 12 out of 179 motorists making a left turn from NY Route 25 were delayed more than 60 seconds once they received a green light," DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said in a statement.
The average wait to complete a left turn, Peters said, was less than 30 seconds. Such "occasional delays" were not substantial enough to warrant a new turn signal, she said, and adding one would lengthen the delay for the higher-volume eastbound through traffic on Jericho Turnpike.
The DOT also analyzed three years of accident data at the intersection and did not identify a "pattern of crashes" that would warrant a left-turn signal, she said.
"We hope your reader understands that DOT engineers must be assured that any change in traffic controls would indeed improve the safety of motorists and traffic operations at this intersection and, unfortunately, that would not be the case here," Peters said.
-- MICHAEL R. EBERT