The Town of Oyster Bay will reopen its parking garage near the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station by early January, officials announced Wednesday.
The town closed the 1,441-space, 7-year-old garage on Sept. 12 for major repairs after years of problems that included cracked ceilings, concrete falling on cars, leaking roofs and trails of rust on the walls.
“We should be finished by the end of this year,” said Public Works Commissioner Richard Lenz.
A town news release said the reopening would be the first week in January. Town spokesman Brian Nevin said that was because “we don’t want to set up false expectations” in case the garage is not ready by Dec. 31.
Supervisor Joseph Saladino said in August the garage would open “before the year’s end.” Colder than average fall weather has caused some delays, including increasing the drying time for the waterproofing system, Lenz said.
Jeffrey Gross, an attorney who commutes on the LIRR from Hicksville to Penn Station, said he’s looking forward to using the renovated garage because it will save him time over the town-run shuttle buses to the train station he has been riding for the past three months.
“It’s easier getting to the train and getting to your car” walking from the parking garage than taking the shuttles, he said.
The shuttle buses, which travel the half mile between the parking lot of the shuttered Hicksville Sears store and the station during weekday rush hours, “have been running pretty smoothly,” said Gross, 45, of Jericho.
Once open, commuters will face the same problem as before, he said: A garage that typically is full by 7:45 a.m.
“For the many millions of dollars the town has spent essentially rebuilding the parking garage they should have made it larger to accommodate the real demand for parking,” Gross said.
The town had expected to pay Swedesboro, New Jersey-based Pullman SST Inc. $13.9 million for the repairs. But officials Tuesday will request an additional $1.6 million from the town board for the project, Lenz said.
The change orders are for work that includes installation of more material to reinforce and strengthen concrete and using solar instead of traditional electric lighting —which saves the town money long-term — for part of the roof, Lenz said.
The biggest repair project — removing and replacing the most severely damaged concrete slabs — is complete, Lenz said. Those slabs now have joints that allow the concrete to withstand weather-related expansion and contraction without cracking, Lenz said.
Work over the next few weeks includes completing waterproofing and drainage improvements and finishing the installation of a new fire alarm system and lighting, he said.
Problems with the garage began shortly after it opened in 2011. Oyster Bay last year sued Freeport-based Peter Scalamandre & Sons Inc. and Mineola-based Sidney B. Bowne & Son LLP , alleging the companies failed to correct substandard work at the garage. The town is seeking unspecified damages. The firms have denied the charges in court documents.