Bayville residents and business operators are breathing a sigh of relief as West Shore Road is fully open after the completion of major construction that disrupted traffic for a year.
“With it being fully open, it makes it easier for the people to get from Oyster Bay to Bayville, people who wouldn’t come into Bayville because they didn’t want to take the back roads,” Bayville Chamber of Commerce President Vincent Moscato said.
The project, which was finished on Nov. 10, represents the third and final phase of seawall reconstruction on the main artery connecting Bayville to the rest of Oyster Bay Town after superstorm Sandy caused a partial collapse of the road in 2012.
The last stage of the work by Nassau County was to remove and replace about 5,000 linear feet of seawall in Mill Neck village and repair the road at a cost of $15 million. Work on the road had been expected to last into the spring, but was completed early.
“West Shore [Road] has been substantially completed, meaning all major items are complete and there will be no more road closures for phase [three],” Nassau County Department of Public Works spokeswoman Mary Studdert said in an email. Some remaining minor work, such as repairs on the railing adjacent to the bridge, is expected to be completed this week, but won’t disrupt traffic, Studdert said.
“It’s great news for Bayville, but we still have to deal with the bridge, which is going to have to undergo major repair,” Bayville village trustee John Taylor said.
Work on the drawbridge over Mill Neck Creek, which has become stuck a few times in recent years, is expected to begin in 2019, Studdert said. Planned repairs to the bridge include cleaning and replacing mechanical and electrical systems.
West Shore Road was completely closed from January until May when the county began opening the road during certain hours. When it was closed, residents and visitors had to follow a mazelike detour through Lattingtown on the west to get to the only other entrance to Bayville.
Taylor said that while business has generally improved in recent years, some merchants reported 20 percent drops that they attributed to the road closures.
“When it [West Shore Road] was closed for a period during the summer, it was really devastating,” Taylor said.
Although the road was generally open on weekends and evenings since May, the uncertainty took its toll, Moscato said. The new sense of certainty is welcome for businesses.
“Now you don’t have to wonder, ‘is the road closed or is it not closed?’ ” Moscato said.