"After seeing firsthand the damage at the site, we have no choice but to take action now," Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) said.
DeRiggi-Whitton, mayors and deputy mayors from Bayville, Lattingtown and Mill Neck Sunday examined a seawall battered by decades of storms and neglect, and gabions holding rocks in place as a stopgap measure.
Cars Sunday zipped down West Shore Road just inches from where pavement was crumbling onto the beach. The road has been subject to flooding, and stormwater runoff has been an environmental concern, officials said.
Plans to repair the road date to the 1970s, and a scaled-back version will be realized with a three-phase project that county officials said will soon go to bid. Construction could begin within the year.
"The safety of West Shore Road is paramount," said Mill Neck Mayor Peter Quick, who highlighted the burying of power lines as an important aspect of the project.
Bayville Mayor Doug Watson said Sunday's tour was a reminder of how dilapidated the infrastructure had become.
"We knew it was bad going down, but seeing it exemplifies it even more," he said.
Barry Lamb, board president of the environmental group Friends of the Bay, said the proposed "state of the art" drainage system will result in better water quality.
The three phases of the project, now awaiting a final permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, would take 18 months each to complete. One lane of traffic on the two-lane road will be closed during construction, and congestion was a concern raised Sunday.
"It's not forever," Village of Lattingtown Deputy Mayor Janet Connolly said. "It's happened before and we managed."
DeRiggi-Whitton said a community meeting will soon be held in Mill Neck to discuss details of the rehabilitation plan.