Smithtown Boulevard safety improvements underway in Nesconset
Construction has resumed on safety improvements to a Nesconset road where a teenager was critically injured about seven years ago.
More clearly defined traffic lanes and raised concrete medians are being added to Smithtown Boulevard -- County Road 16 -- after new sidewalks were built last fall. The changes, expected to be completed by early summer, are aimed at slowing traffic and reducing accidents, said Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset). The project also includes the construction of left turn lanes where Smithtown Boulevard intersects with Gilbert Avenue and Sheppard Lane.
"I had always been aware that this was a somewhat unsafe intersection," Kennedy said of the site at Smithtown Boulevard, Sheppard and Gilbert. "As you head west toward Smithtown, there's got to be a mile and a half of roadway between traffic signals. It gives traffic the opportunity to accelerate considerably."
Kennedy said in a news release that the project, which was studied three to four years ago, "followed my efforts to force the county to address a location where too many traffic fatalities and serious physical injury to pedestrians and bicyclists have occurred."
The road was the scene of 32 accidents from January 2007 to December 2009, he has said. The RBA Group, a Melville-based consultant hired by Suffolk County to study the road, found that 85 percent of Smithtown Boulevard drivers were driving at 45-49 mph, though the road has a posted speed limit of 35 mph.
Tom Archer, of Nesconset, whose son Benjamin was struck by a sport utility vehicle while riding a bicycle on Smithtown Boulevard in 2007, said last year that the road improvements should "keep somebody else from getting hurt at that corner."
Benjamin, who was 15 at the time, suffered traumatic brain injury, Archer has said.
Kennedy said $200,000 has been appropriated for the project so far.
One of three planned traffic medians has already been installed on Smithtown Boulevard between Terry Road and Gilbert Avenue. Additional medians are under construction farther east, he said.