A New York State tourism sign on the Meadowbrook State...

A New York State tourism sign on the Meadowbrook State Parkway on Nov. 5, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The state parks department is advising beachgoers this weekend to take the Wantagh State Parkway and not the Meadowbrook State Parkway because it is being redesigned to make it safer.

Now that the Meadowbrook’s outdated toll plazas have been removed, the parks department has begun the work needed to straighten the now-curving ramp for the Loop Parkway by shifting it toward the bay.

Native grasses and other plants will be planted between that ramp, which will have two lanes, and the Meadowbrook’s three lanes, officials said.

The project, which cannot be done in winter, should finish this year.

Though traffic did not back up at that section during weekday commuter hours, motorists might get stuck in traffic on peak summer days, said George Gorman, Long Island regional director, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“It’s absolutely a safety project; it’ll also be a beautiful entrance to the park,” Gorman said of the project, which is made possible by the $65 million upgrade plan Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approved.

Separately, Nassau police on Friday urged drivers to avoid the area around Belmont Park in Elmont on Saturday, with the Belmont Stakes taking place

The gates open at 8:30 a.m., with the first race scheduled to go off at 11:30 a.m. The last race is scheduled for about 7 p.m.

Expect delays all day long along Hempstead Turnpike and surrounding secondary roads, Nassau County police said. Plainfield Avenue will be closed from Hempstead Turnpike to Vanderwater Avenue between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., police said. Based on recent history, drivers can also expect delays on the nearby Cross Island Parkway.

The Long Island Rail Road will add extra trains to serve Belmont Park. Officials suggest racegoers consider using mass transit options in an effort to avoid traffic and parking issues.

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