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New Hyde Park street to close until fall for LIRR crossing work

Construction seen Sunday at the Covert Avenue LIRR

Construction seen Sunday at the Covert Avenue LIRR crossing in New Hyde Park ahead of plans to eliminate the graded crossing in an effort to combat increased traffic, congestion and vehicle exhaust. Credit: Johnny Milano

A roadway that crosses the Long Island Rail Road tracks in New Hyde Park will be closed for months beginning Monday as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority digs out a new underpass for cars and pedestrians.

The project is one of seven grade-crossing elimination projects that the MTA is carrying out to reduce traffic and improve safety as part of the $2.6 billion "Main Line Expansion Project," according to an MTA news release issued Sunday. The project, announced in January 2016, is to build a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville.

The Covert Avenue closure comes after three people were killed in February when a car went around a gate at a similar grade crossing in Westbury and was struck by two oncoming trains.

The work in New Hyde Park will require the closure of Covert Avenue from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue until the fall. The MTA is recommending motorists take New Hyde Park Road or Tulip Avenue as detours.

Once completed, Covert Avenue will drop underneath the tracks as a two-lane road and sidewalk, alleviating traffic backups when trains pass through the intersection, officials said in the news release.

"Eliminating this railroad crossing and six others between Floral Park and Hicksville will make the area safer for everyone and improve convenience for commuters, drivers, and pedestrians," MTA chief development officer Janno Lieber said in a statement.

The Main Line Expansion Project is expected to be finished in 2022, according to the release.

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