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As county lawmakers last week unanimously approved emergency repairs to West Shore Road — a critical link between Oyster Bay and Bayville that had partially collapsed during superstorm Sandy — homeowners were getting a full-color mailing (posted below) from County Executive Edward Mangano taking credit for the road’s reconstruction.
County officials of both parties had warned for at least a decade that the waterside road was in serious need of repair. But the $9 million first phase of a long-planned reconstruction project was abruptly pulled from the legislature’s Rules Committee agenda in July by then Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who later died in October from a heart attack.
Schmitt said then he had concerns about the road’s ownership and complained about its costs.
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) in early September asked Schmitt when residents could expect the work to proceed. "I’m very concerned about too many delays on this," she said. "This is critical. . . . The underpinning of the road is literally falling away.”
“Where’s your engineering degree?” Schmitt snapped back. Days later he relented and acknowledged the repairs should move forward.
But nothing had happened before Sandy hit in late October.
A Newsday reporter emailed and called Mangano’s office every day for a week after the storm, asking for an update on the road, which had been closed because of its collapse, but received no answer.
When asked at a news conference that Friday about West Shore Road, Mangano said he would order emergency repairs.
Jacobs, after seeing the Mangano mailing, said, “Pleas for this project, through the years, were ignored. The delays have been inexcusable. Simple and pure need should have dictated the reconstruction. An emergency was only needed due to undue delays.
“This mailing seems to politicize the process when the only politics involved was the delay, and the bipartisan support to get this done, now, was never even mentioned.”
Mangano aide Brian Nevin said, "County Executive Mangano always supported the reconstruction of West Shore Road and that is why he called on the Legislature to support the project long before Hurricane Sandy."
Jacobs acknowledged that Mangano had supported the road's repair, adding that the delays came at the legislative level.