Detour for Sandy repairs hurts businesses

A section of Superstorm Sandy-damaged West Shore Road

A section of Superstorm Sandy-damaged West Shore Road between Oyster Bay and Bayville is pictured. (Nov. 28, 2012) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

Bayville's sole gas station has had it rough since Sandy.

Its electricity was out for a week and the station couldn't run its pumps. When power returned, floodwater was found in one of its three fuel tanks.

Now, just yards away, a digital sign and orange construction cones announce the closure of storm-battered West Shore Road for repairs and the disruption of traffic on which area businesses depend.


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"We used to be really busy," said Ron Youngs, 65, co-owner of the Gulf gas station and adjoining auto repair shop. "If the road's open, we'll sometimes pick up inspections or tire work, but not lately."

West Shore Road, a critical connection between Oyster Bay hamlet and Bayville and Centre Island, is closed for nine months as Nassau County performs $9 million in emergency repairs.

Sandy's storm surge caused parts of the harborside road to collapse and reduced portions of the seawall to rubble.

Motorists who previously used the direct 2-mile route must drive 5 extra winding miles through Mill Neck and Locust Valley.

"Pre-construction work" began mid-month, county public works spokesman Michael Martino said. Only West Shore Road residents and emergency vehicles have access, he said.

The road was originally slated to be repaired in three phases lasting 18 months each with one lane open. Elements of phases one and two will be incorporated into the fast-tracked work, but the fate of the rest of the original plan is "undetermined," Martino said.

Bayville officials said stoplights along Bayville Avenue, which runs the length of the village, were adjusted last month to create longer green lights and ease congestion to and from the detour.

Commerce on either side of West Shore Road is being hurt.

Mario's Pizzeria in Oyster Bay hamlet now tells its Bayville customers that deliveries will take about 45 minutes with the detour rather than the usual half-hour, employee Peter Spanos, 23, said.

Richard Valicenti, 56, owner of Bridge Marine, a full-service marina, said he's losing some customers who bring their boats on trailers and refuse to brave the detour's hilly, curving roads.

Brigitte Barteau, 48, owner of The Bridge Cafe, said, "I've definitely lost weekend business."

Valicenti, Barteau and others said they hope West Shore Road will reopen by summer, when Bayville enjoys an influx of visitors.

Truck drivers making commercial deliveries to Bayville also are griping about detours down wooded roads and under low bridges, several business owners said.

Dina Abdelkader, 52, co-owner of ADOR Coffee, a cafe, said the truckers, too, must face the new reality.

"It's inconvenient, but if they want the business, they're going to have to take the detour," she said.

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