West Shore Road in Mill Neck, closed since superstorm Sandy undermined it, will partially reopen by Jan. 25.
Allowing traffic on the southern third of the road -- six-tenths of a mile south of Cleft Road -- will only trim the official detour to and from Bayville and Centre Island by a tenth of a mile. But the announcement was welcomed by local officials and residents.
Centre Island Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp said the new detour is "slightly shorter and not as steep" because it eliminates the need to traverse Mill Hill Road in Mill Neck.
And the time and mileage savings will be greater for those who use smaller local roads rather than the official detour through Mill Neck and Lattingtown.
Nassau County public works spokesman Mike Martino said Tuesday that while both lanes south of Cleft Road will reopen around the clock, "the public should expect construction delays and use of the [original] detour is encouraged."
Martino said construction workers are removing utility poles along Oyster Bay Harbor and burying utility lines on the western side of the road.
No date has been determined for reopening the rest of the road, but the county has said it will be before the Fourth of July. The county also said it will try for partial reopening at certain times of at least one lane before the project is completed.
After completion of $5 million in emergency repairs and the first of three phases of reconstruction, Martino said, "no timetable has been set for construction" of the second phase. "However, design is ongoing."
The Bayville Bridge at the north end of the road was also damaged during Sandy.
"Repair work has been ongoing since after Sandy and will be completed before the boating season," Martino said.
Schmidlapp said the county should address rush-hour bottlenecks at traffic lights on Bayville Road in Lattingtown.
"The traffic engineering department will investigate to see if this is possible," Martino said.