Nassau County officials have rejected a request by two North Shore mayors to re-time traffic lights on a road that has become jammed since West Shore Road in Mill Neck was closed because of damage from superstorm Sandy.
Lattingtown Mayor Clarence F. Michalis wrote to the county earlier this month, saying that he and Centre Island Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp would like the county to change the pattern on two lights on Bayville Road in Lattingtown to eliminate bottlenecks.
"It's a 15-second light" for drivers heading north on Bayville Road as part of the official detour to Bayville, and the evening rush hour is the main problem time, Michalis said Friday. "That's a pretty short time. Twenty cars line up and only three or four get through each light."
Michalis added that "when you have all the commuting traffic [from the closed West Shore Road] it's a real problem."
Michael Martino, spokesman for the county Department of Public Works, said "the county's Traffic Engineering Division dispatched an engineer to the corridor to investigate the situation, and the signal timing seems to be appropriate to handle the volume of traffic."
He added that the county "will continue to monitor the location and make adjustments as necessary."
"I think that's wrong," Schmidlapp responded. "You end up having to wait for three or four lights, and it's about 45 seconds the other way. It forces people to take the shortcuts on smaller roads," which creates safety problems and more traffic on small residential streets in Mill Neck.
After Sandy, the county changed the timing on the lights on Bayville Avenue in Bayville at the request of Mayor Douglas Watson.
Martino said there is no date scheduled for reopening the northern section of West Shore Road. It reopened the southern third of the road along Oyster Bay Harbor on Jan. 25.
The county has said the road will be fully open before the Fourth of July, and it will try for partial reopening at certain times of at least one lane before the project is finished.
After completion of $5 million in emergency repairs and the first of three phases of a previously planned reconstruction, there is no timetable for construction of the second phase. But design work is ongoing.