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Town officials set hearing on big rigs on South Oyster Bay Road

A big rig truck heads south on South

A big rig truck heads south on South Oyster Bay Road near Our Lady of Mercy School in Hicksville on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The Town of Oyster Bay board has unanimously voted to hold a Nov. 10 public hearing on a proposal to again ban large trucks along a 4-mile stretch of South Oyster Bay Road.

Town and Nassau County officials are pushing the New York State Department of Transportation to reverse its December 2014 declaration of the section of the road from the Long Island Expressway south to Route 107 as "a designated truck access highway."

The designation allows double-trailer trucks as long as 65 feet and auto carriers up to 75 feet on South Oyster Bay Road, which is lined with homes, a school, several houses of worship, stores and offices. The resolution introduced Tuesday would reinstate the old length limit of 48 feet and impose a weight restriction of 10,000 pounds and a height limit of 13 feet.

Hicksville resident Tanya Lukasik told board members Tuesday that the designation "has created extremely dangerous conditions on this roadway," and she lauded the proposal to restore the ban on big trucks.

She asked how the designation went through in December without residents' knowledge, even though the state in October notified town and Nassau County officials and asked if they had any objections to the proposed change. No one objected, NYSDOT spokesman Gary Holmes said.

One letter was addressed to town Commissioner of Highways Richard Betz and copied to town Supervisor John Venditto, town planning and development Commissioner Frederick Ippolito and Nassau County public works Commissioner Shila Shah-Gavnoudias.

"Who was aware of this, and how did we get to this point?" Lukasik asked.

Venditto said he did not recall receiving a notice, but said the state could act quickly to remove the big trucks from the road. "It certainly seems to me that New York State, with the wave of a hand or a snap of the finger, could resolve this issue," Venditto said.

Town Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said the state has not responded to her August request to temporarily rescind the designation while it reviews the matter.

Holmes said the state is "looking into the questions raised by Oyster Bay."

But he said the town cannot reverse the designation on its own. Federal law also limits the state, he said. It requires the state to maintain the truck-access-highway designation unless it can be shown that safety problems -- such as large trucks getting into accidents or veering into other lanes while turning -- can be proved.

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