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Long Island

State DOT: 77 miles of LI roads repaved for $35M

The state repaved 77 lane miles of road on Long Island in recent months at a cost of $35 million as it sought to repair some of the worst area roads in the wake of a harsh winter, officials said Thursday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in May that the state would accelerate $100 million in projects covering 300 lane miles, but set no timetable for the projects.

In a statement this week, the state Department of Transportation said "all the priority sections" -- totaling 77 miles -- were completed by Nov. 15, but it did not say how it had established which sections were given top priority.

The state did no repaving on one of the worst-hit roads on the list, the half-mile Nassau Expressway loop in the Five Towns area that is a primary South Shore evacuation route in emergencies. Potholes were filled instead, with repaving set to begin in spring, the state said.

The winning bids were generally in line with costs projected in May, but exact comparisons were not possible because the 12 stretches of road listed in May were bundled into six contracts. Most of the contracts are funded with a mix of federal and state money, but the Nassau Expressway work is entirely federally funded.

The state estimated in May that a short-term fix to the expressway between Burnside Avenue and Rockaway Turnpike would cost $6 million, but the winning bid was for $1.8 million.

The fix will last 10 to 12 years, according to the DOT, and will have to endure until a long-deferred major reconstruction, estimated to cost $61 million, is put out to bid in 2023 for the heavily traveled roadway, which often floods when it rains.

Nassau County Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) said he's pleased the state is "finally correcting pavement conditions that have turned portions of the Nassau Expressway into a Third World road. However, it is just a Band-Aid.

"It is sad that the state has chosen to ignore the safety and welfare of all of the residents of southwest Nassau County and the Rockaways," Kopel said in an email.

"Thousands of residents have written to the governor pleading for a usable evacuation route, which this area does not now have. . . . This is playing roulette with the lives of tens of thousands of citizens," he said.

Regional DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said the repaving projects were what road engineers call "mill and fill." The top 2 or 3 inches of old asphalt is stripped, any necessary repairs are made to the base of the road, and a new asphalt coating and lane markings are applied.

Drainage improvements were also made, and traffic signal vehicle detectors were replaced and fresh new pavement markings were provided, she said.

"The Nassau Expressway (NY Route 878 project) did not have a priority section, but the major potholes were repaired and work will resume there in the spring," Peters said in an email.

She said all the projects began this year rather than in 2015 and beyond. She estimated that the design stage was cut to three months from the usual six, and the advertising period for bids was cut to three weeks from four.

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