The $15.7 million project to improve safety and traffic flow on Route 231 at the Northern State Parkway interchange in Dix Hills is in full swing.
The project, which started in December, aims to improve traffic flow, reduce accidents and delays and improve overall safety and traffic operations at the interchange, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Stephen Canzoneri.
New parkway ramps will be constructed and/or improved within existing parkway property right-of-way. The changes will also improve access for pedestrians.
“Modernizing the interchange of Northern State Parkway and Route 231 is a wise investment that will pay off in more convenient travel for years to come,” Acting DOT Commissioner Paul Karas said in a news release.
Preliminary work began during the winter, but contractors are preparing the site for major construction later this spring, state officials said.
The improvements include, at the southwest quadrant of the interchange, a new entrance ramp from Route 231 southbound directly to the eastbound Northern State Parkway, eliminating the left turn entrance via Deforest Road. A new exit ramp also will be built with a longer deceleration lane from eastbound Northern State Parkway to southbound Route 231.
In the southeast corner, the exit ramp from the Northern State Parkway eastbound to northbound Route 231 will be relocated and built wider and longer than the existing ramp. Exiting traffic will then join westbound Deforest Road with an extra lane of traffic traveling to a new traffic signal at Deforest Road and Route 231. A raised median on Deforest Road will also be installed.
On Route 231, a raised center median will be installed, traffic signals will be reconfigured for easier travel, a new right turning lane for southbound traffic to eastbound Northern State Parkway will be added, and new sidewalks will be built, including enhanced pedestrian signals and ramps compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Sheila Saks, the former president of the House Beautiful Dix Hills Civic Association, said the biggest concern now is the backup of traffic on the Northern State during rush hour and the overall inconvenience. But she acknowledged some of the improvements will be welcome.
Larry Feld, a commissioner with the Dix Hills Fire District, which has a facility right next to the construction zone, has been tracking the work.
“The DOT is claiming that the interchange is going to help things in the long run, and we hope that it does,” Feld said. “Anything can be better than what was there previously.”