Suffolk County has started a two-year, $8 million road improvement project on Oak Street, an important east-west thoroughfare linking Copiague to Amityville and Lindenhurst.
The roadway revamp is one of many initiatives modernizing central Copiague, and one that locals and officials alike say is sorely needed.
“This road hasn’t been touched in a long time,” said Babylon Town Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez, who described the many potholes and puddles that harry drivers along the route, which is also known as County Road 12.
“If you look at the roadway and the sidewalks, they’re in really bad shape.”
Suffolk has hired Intercounty Paving, a Hicksville-based company, to reconstruct a two-mile stretch of the street from County Line Road to Garfield Avenue, according to William Hillman, a chief engineer of the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, which is overseeing the project.
Workers will also bring sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, put up more reflective signs, repaint crosswalks and lane stripes, and install pedestrian signals with countdown timers, he said.
Construction should begin within a month, Hillman said. The work will largely not require lane closures except for two to four weeks this summer.
“It’s going to be a brand-new road when we’re done,” Hillman said.
Nick Gluth welcomed the news of the upgrades. The 23-year-old pump and motor repairman has spent nearly his entire life listening to tires thud in Oak Street ruts outside of his family’s home on the border of Amityville and Copiague.
“It’ll be nice,” he said. “You won’t have to worry about swerving or people slowing down in front of me to avoid potholes. It’ll be a lot safer.”
A grant from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery is funding the effort, which is expected to conclude in the spring or summer of 2019, Hillman said.
Upgrading storm water infrastructure is another core goal, according to Justin Hipperling, the director of construction with the county department.
Workers will replace a culvert at Peterkin Park in Amityville, Hipperling said. They will also install four storm water treatment vaults — two at the park and two near Garfield Avenue — with weirs and swirl chambers that will trap oil and grease and sift out solids before releasing rain water into nearby tributaries.
The road work joins a host of plans to overhaul the look and build of central Copiague. Babylon Town designated 35 acres there an “urban renewal area” in March to boost efforts to create a more walkable, cohesive downtown. And a streetscape improvement project on Great Neck Road is slated to begin this fall.