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Long Island

DOT probes 7 potential wrong-way spots on LI

On July 5, 2010, police say Dave Richards,

On July 5, 2010, police say Dave Richards, 30, of Hempstead, was driving drunk and the wrong-way on the LIE near Exit 24 when he crashed head-on into a van. Credit: Vic Nicastro

State transportation regulators are looking into seven spots on Long Island highways identified by Newsday readers and a driver advocate as difficult to navigate and potential contributors to wrong-way driving.

At most of the locations, readers cited adjacent exit and entrance ramps to Island parkways as the primary problem. Last week Newsday gave the state Department of Transportation a list of the spots, which were detailed Sunday in a story about calls to reduce wrong-way driving.

Wrong-way driving has led to at least five crashes on Long Island roadways since a fatal collision July 5.

Regional DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said Monday that the agency is examining what political, environmental, land use and other factors contributed to the present layout of the locations. "We're looking at the history of all those different areas to determine why they are configured the way they are and just to get background information," Peters said.

Field visits have yet to be scheduled, she said, but the agency has indicated that traffic safety engineers will evaluate the locations to see whether signage needs to be repaired or replaced.

Massapequa resident Tony Simonelli, who identified as tricky the southbound entrance to the Wantagh State Parkway for drivers going east on the Hempstead Turnpike, said he was glad to hear the DOT was on the case. He said his son almost found himself going the wrong way on the Wantagh on Sunday after being momentarily unable to identify the proper entrance.

"That's great," Simonelli said. "It's about time they do something."

With Alfonso A. Castillo

and Emily C. Dooley

Latest Long Island News