Banners on Jackson Avenue in Syosset announce, "Pardon Our Appearance During Road Construction." That residents posted them along the deteriorating roadway in August, months before a $6-million reconstruction project was scheduled to start, shows their eagerness for improvement.
This week, Town of Oyster Bay leaders told them the wait was almost over. The board is now soliciting bids for the project, saying the start of construction to repave the mile of pothole-ridden lanes, install sidewalks and straighten a dangerous curve is about three months away.
The town had taken control of the stretch of Jackson - from Jericho Turnpike north to the railroad tracks - after Nassau County was unable to secure federal stimulus funding for the project. County legislators provided $3 million for the project and the town will finance the other half through its general fund.
Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months.
"It was a tortured process that really couldn't get done with the county and the federal government," said Town Deputy Supervisor Len Genova.
New utility poles already have been installed to prepare for widening the road, which serves about 20,000 vehicles daily, according to a town study.
Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset, a group of about 200 homeowners, remains skeptical.
"This process appears to be moving along, but it is frustratingly slow for those of us who use the road on a daily basis," said Laura Schultz, the organization's president, who lives two blocks from Jackson.
She and her husband, Robert, walked along Jackson yesterday and noted spots where they said a young girl, attempting to cross the road in an area with no sidewalk, was fatally struck by a truck in 2004, and where drivers unable to manage a blind curve have driven into homes.
Town leaders said resident unrest shouldn't be directed at them.
"We're making this happen when nobody else really did," said Supervisor John Venditto.