Nighttime closures through October for a mile of paving along Route 347 will bring more pain to local businesses but, after a year of road construction, those worst affected say they'll just be happy to see the work finish.
Beginning tonight, the road will close east or westbound -- or both -- between Route 454 and Route 111 in Hauppauge. The closures will continue Sundays through Thursdays, weather permitting, for about six weeks. Eastbound, the road will close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.; westbound closures will be between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., state transportation officials said.
In addition, single-lane closures may occur on the same stretch Mondays through Thursdays as early as 6 p.m. westbound and 7 p.m. eastbound. Nearby Route 111 will remain open, but the DOT advises single-lane closures may be in effect Sundays through Thursdays between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on that road also.
"It's a grin-and-bear-it situation is how I see it at this point," said Jimmy Pace, whose family has owned Pace's Steak House on Route 347 for 28 years.
That business and the one next door, Blend Wine & Tapas, have suffered through this year's work because the only access to their restaurants is from the affected stretch.
"Driving around here, you can't blame people for not wanting to have to fight the roadwork," said Tommy Quinn, a partner at Blend. Both men agree they're looking forward to the final result.
"It'll be a nice job when it's done, no doubt about it," Pace said. "It will make it easier for people to drive here."
The work to widen this stretch of Route 347, a $27-million contract, is part of a multiyear, bigger construction project to improve safety and traffic flow along the 15-mile section of the state road between the Northern State Parkway and Route 25A.
The widening from Route 454 to Route 111 is running six months behind its planned completion date due to a delay in awarding the contract by the state and unanticipated additional utility work, DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said.
And the paving job that starts tonight is complicated. Up to a foot of asphalt is required in some places, with adjustments to the surface profile for drainage at certain points along the way. Cracks in the pavement base also must be fixed before the top layer can be resurfaced, and castings for utilities and sewer access need raising to the new roadway level.
On Wednesday, Pace's and Blend received a visit from the DOT's engineer-in-charge of the project and a community liaison who said they would work to maintain a small entry on the roadside shoulder for the two businesses' customers during the next six weeks.
"They were super professional. We'll still be affected, but they went out of their way to come by and ease the pain some," Quinn said of the unexpected visit.