1-lane stretch of Route 347 to close until 2015

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Another stretch of Route 347 in Hauppauge will have one lane closed until spring 2015 in the latest phase of a $30.5-million improvements project, state transportation officials said.

Work crews, currently finishing up on the roadway at the split with Route 454, will move east Monday to start on the stretch between Brooksite Drive and Route 111, according to a state advisory. The half-mile closure, from three lanes to two, will be in effect around the clock, but state officials said they will monitor the traffic impact and make adjustments.

The revamp is aimed at improving safety, making the area more walkable, and putting in a "greenbelt" on a 15-mile stretch that runs through Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven towns.

This project is the largest "design-build" process on Long Island, which officials see as an innovative experiment on how to bring improvements quickly while saving money on construction.

Instead of waiting for the entire approval and design process to be completed before embarking on construction -- a yearslong timeline -- crews can start on approved road work while other teams continue designing and getting approval on other aspects of the project. It's also a way of being more flexible in addressing any unforeseen problems, state officials said.

Monday's scheduled closure is the second in a series of Route 347 corridor projects that's expected to reduce traffic delays by adding a travel lane in each direction. Officials also hope to boost safety with countdown timers at crosswalks and narrowed travel lanes to reduce speeds.

The project also includes beautification and environmentally friendly aspects, including a path for pedestrians and bicyclists, a rain garden and solar-powered lights.

For up-to-date traffic information, call 511 or go to 511NY.org. Traffic cameras are accessible through informny.com and informny.mobi for handheld devices.

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