A $27 million project to overhaul Exit 53 of the Long Island Expressway is finally underway and is expected to reduce congestion while providing an easier route to shopping and recreational destinations in various communities, according to officials.
A proposal to provide a direct link from the expressway to Crooked Hill Road while easing traffic in Brentwood and beyond, was first floated in 2019. The plan was ultimately given the green light and was awarded to H & L Contracting LLC, based in Hauppauge, which began clearing the area this week, according to Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association. According to a 2019 Newsday article, construction was predicted to start in 2020 and wrap up by this year.
Now expected to be completed next year, motorists heading in either direction of the expressway will have two new off ramps for direct access to Crooked Hill Road. This means faster trips to multiple locales, including Crooked Hill Commons and Commack Shopping Center, both in Smithtown, and also Suffolk County Community College’s Grant campus in Islip and Brentwood State Park.
"This transformative project went through various revisions in the design phase and additional federal interstate requirements needed to be met before getting the project underway," said a spokesman for Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Among the modifications, a ramp on the eastbound LIE will get a second lane toward the southbound Sagtikos State Parkway and a third travel lane will be extended for traffic merging onto southbound Sagtikos State Parkway to the G Road bridge with more upgrades at Exit S2, according to the governor’s release.
Residents and workers in the area previously called the network of roads in the area confusing to navigate.
Matt Cohen, president & CEO of the Long Island Association, an influential business group, welcomed the changes.
“Traffic and the frustration that comes with it is a productivity killer and we look forward to the reconfiguration of the labyrinth that is Exit 53 on the LIE that is underway,” Cohen said in a statement.
Peter Cosentino, a managing partner for Commack South Shopping Center and a partner at Crooked Hill Commons, said the entire area will get a boost from the improvement.
“They [roads] are in need of a realignment,” Cosentino said.
“This will help a lot.”