The coming overhaul of Long Island's bridges and roads won't just affect drivers -- four Island firms are hoping to land their share of nearly $41 million in local bridge and road repair projects.
The repairs are part of New York Works, the new infrastructure program that is a centerpiece of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's attempt to spur job creation. The program devotes state and federal funds to new and existing projects.
"It's a tremendous boost for our economy here on Long Island, to create jobs and bring much-needed dollars to repair our highways and bridges," said state Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), chairman of the Senate transportation committee.
Through that and other programs, the state expects to spend $347 million on bridge and road work on the Island in the budget year ending next March, nearly double the prior year's $190 million, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The spending should be "extremely helpful" for Long Island's construction trades, said Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors' Association. The unemployment rate in Long Island's construction trades surged to 30 percent after the 2008 financial crisis, he said.
The repairs could create some 2,000 jobs, Herbst said. "It's all local jobs, they're family-owned companies that employ local people," he said.
For the Long Island projects, the state Department of Transportation preapproved four teams of companies that are eligible to bid. Each team includes one engineer and one contractor, which work together to submit bids and, if chosen, complete the projects. Four Island-based firms are on the preapproved list. Contractor Posillico Civil Inc., of Farmingdale, will team up with engineer Greenman-Pedersen Inc., of Babylon, while contractor Peter Scalamandre and Sons Inc., of Freeport, will collaborate with LiRo Engineers Inc., of Syosset.
Local contractors have faced a "desperate" situation, with less government funding for infrastructure and increased competition from other out-of-work builders, said Michael Trotta, vice president at Posillico.
The local projects include repairs to six bridges and 86 miles of roads. The biggest project will be the $16-million overhaul of parapets on nine bridges on the Meadowbrook and Southern State parkways. The state also plans to replace the decks of the Pinelawn Road bridge over the Long Island Expressway in the town of Huntington; the Ronkonkoma Avenue bridge over the expressway in the town of Brookhaven; the Waverly Avenue bridge over the expressway, also in the town of Brookhaven; and the Great Neck Road bridge over Route 27 in the town of Babylon.