Speaking at a meeting of the Long Island Association in...

Speaking at a meeting of the Long Island Association in Melville on Friday, June 3, 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks about the new Long Island Welcome Center that is replacing the old rest stop that for decades was located at the same spot along the eastbound Long Island Expressway between exits 51 and 52. Credit: Steve Pfost

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came to Long Island Friday to talk about two of the state’s latest local projects.

He promoted the $20.2 million Welcome Center under construction on the eastbound Long Island Expressway near Exit 51 that aims to highlight locally grown, New York-made products and support regional tourism.

He also announced that two design-build contracts have been awarded for work on the Long Island Rail Road’s Double Track project.

“These two projects, individually, are important, and then they make a statement together,” Cuomo said at an event hosted by the Long Island Association in Melville. He was joined by state and local officials who included Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll, Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Northport), Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast.

The Welcome Center is scheduled to be completed in October and will include a 15,200-square-foot low-slung LEED-certified building with lighted parking for 135 vehicles, round-the-clock access to 30 toilets and vending machines, continuous video monitoring and on-site law enforcement.

It will feature what officials said will be the “premier” Taste NY store. There are 45 of the outlets — which sell and promote goods made in the state — across New York State.

Tractor trailers and buses will be directed to another site along the LIE.

The community has fought upgrades to the rest stop for almost 20 years, most citing quality-of-life issues, and some are still not happy.

“There is no perfect compromise,” said Raia, who was singled out by the governor for helping broker the compromise. “A good compromise leaves both sides wanting a little more.”

Construction of a second track on the LIRR is planned between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma to increase flexibility and reduce delays associated with service disruptions in both directions on the Ronkonkoma Branch.

The project is expected to increase capacity along the 18 miles between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. Completion of the Double Track project is targeted for the end of 2018.

A $59.7 million contract has been awarded to Skanska-Posillico II Joint Venture to design and construct 7.4 miles of track between Farmingdale and Central Islip; 6.1 miles of trackbed between Farmingdale and Deer Park; and 1.3 miles of trackbed between Brentwood and Central Islip.

Ansaldo STS USA Inc. has been awarded a $44.8 million contract to design and build a new signaling system.

Design-build contracts call for the design and construction phases to be awarded to one company.

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