A $1 million paving project delayed by one of the weather conditions it is designed to address is expected to begin next week as officials try to curb flooding on heavily traveled Dune Road in Southampton.
The town board voted 3-1 on Thursday to authorize Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor to use unspent money from the town highway department’s paving budget to resurface a 2.5-mile stretch of Dune Road.
The paving was scheduled to begin this week, but was pushed back one week due to high tides and easterly winds, Gregor said Tuesday.
He said it is necessary to elevate the road above sea level for public safety reasons, pointing out the road’s use as a hurricane evacuation route.
The project will focus on setting at least 10,000 tons of new asphalt in sections between the Ponquogue Bridge and the Quogue Village line, which town officials have pointed to as being plagued by heavy flooding during periods of high tide.
“We need to take immediate action,” said Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “We can no longer wait for funding from federal, state and county funding to assist us.”
The first phase of paving — 1.1 miles from just west of the Ponquogue Bridge to west of Tiana Beach — will now start at around 7 a.m. and run to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1 and is expected to conclude Aug. 3, Gregor said. The remaining 1.4 miles extending up to the Quogue Village line will be done in September and October.
Gregor outlined the details of the project’s costs, location and timeline at the town board’s special meeting on Thursday, but members appeared split on some of the project’s details.
Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who voted against the project, expressed reservations about the timing of the paving during the busy summer season and concerns the project was only a patchwork solution to stopping flooding on Dune Road. She suggested having a broader discussion to possibly overhaul the entire paving project and find long-term solutions to curb flooding.
“We should be spending money wisely, not throwing it piecemeal at something,” Scalera said.
Town Councilman Stan Glinka, who abstained from voting, said he heard from at least a dozen constituents who asked him whether the paving could be pushed back to the fall to avoid the busy summer season.
However, Gregor argued at the meeting that new pavement on the road was necessary to avoid the heavier rains that come in the fall.
Councilman John Bouvier said he drives Dune Road often and had received “a large amount of complaints” from residents when the road has flooded.
“It’s important to at least make the road passable during flood times,” Bouvier said.