More major repairs are scheduled for the Long Island Expressway. The rehabilitation includes a focus on five bridges in Nassau and Suffolk counties.  Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

After a long-awaited repaving project completed in the fall, major repair work has kicked off on the Long Island Expressway, bringing possible traffic disruptions that may last until next year.

The rehabilitation includes a focus on five bridges in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including both the eastbound and westbound spans of a bridge over Blue Point Road between Exits 62 and 63; a westbound span that goes over Holbrook Road between Exits 61 and 62; and a third site over Round Swamp Road near Exit 48.

Decks that run across the expressway are being repaired with a new layer of concrete.

It’s part of maintenance intended to strengthen and preserve the structures.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • More repairs are coming to the Long Island Expressway.
  • This includes rehabbing five bridges in Suffolk, new ramps to access Crooked Hill Road, and ongoing concrete road work from Exits 64 to 67.
  • One expert said traffic disruptions are possible but overall the impact should be minimal.

Other Long Island Expressway work includes a new ramp being constructed at Crooked Hill Road and repaving between Exits 64 and 67.

Motorists welcomed the repairs but not all were looking forward to the possibility of more traffic.

Aline Odle-Dotson, 57, of Coram was hoping it would end soon.

“That's the only complaint I would have, to get it done as soon as possible," she said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement said: "These bridges are vital links connecting people and businesses across Long Island, and our work will provide an improved travel experience and easier commute for decades to come."

For motorists wondering why the latest roadwork wasn’t completed when the expressway was resurfaced with asphalt, Michael Shenoda, an assistant professor of civil engineering technology at Farmingdale State College explained that there are different materials and processes used for lane work and bridge repair and the two don’t entirely mesh.

“Asphalt repaving is a very different construction process than a concrete deck," Shenoda said. "They all require different contractors, different types of work. Asphalt work can be done at different times of year, concrete work, usually because it's longer and more involved, has to be done over the summer.”

Michael Shenoda, assistant professor of civil engineering technology at Farmingdale...

Michael Shenoda, assistant professor of civil engineering technology at Farmingdale State College, points out major projects on the LIE including bridge work repairs. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

While construction is expected to be completed in stages, the good news is that all lanes will remain in service, albeit a little tighter, with lanes shift notices up already near the Holbrook and Blue Point locations.

Bridge work is expected to be completed in December, according to the state Department of Transportation contract. The Crooked Hill ramp is scheduled to be completed in November. The concrete repair is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.

Some HOV signs are covered up because of temporary restrictions of lane access near the bridge areas, according to state DOT officials.

“I could see people slowing down and traffic getting a little bit backed up," Shenoda said. "When they see something unfamiliar, they'll start to slow down for it.”

The concrete deck work is part of a $25.6 million investment in both counties that already saw three bridges repaired in Nassau County, including a bridge over Locust Lane in East Hills, Express Drive South over Washington Avenue in the Town of Oyster Bay and a Stewart Avenue ramp to the southbound Meadowbrook State Parkway in the Town of Hempstead.

Other projects on the LIE include new ramps to access Crooked Hill Road (CR13) in the towns of Islip and Smithtown for cars traveling west on the expressway near Exit 53.

Concrete roads are also being repaired farther east, from NY112 at Exit 64 to Yaphank Avenue at Exit 67, in the Town of Brookhaven.

While Raymond Ally, 55,of Forest Hills, only commutes to his job in Melville twice a week, it's enough to force him to come up with alternate routes.

“We have to rethink our driving strategy," Ally said. "I use Waze a lot, and everybody puts the notices there. So we all try to do what we can to avoid delays.”

So far, he hasn’t noticed any construction because he said he’s too focused “on not crashing into the guy in front of me because we're all bumper to bumper.”

Other drivers felt the labor was critical to maintaining the Island's main thoroughfare running smoothly, however inconvenient.

"I think it's necessary; the LIE was originally built when Long Island had a much smaller population and much less traffic,” said Mitch Goldberg, 55, of Melville. “It’s going be a work in progress and if they don't fix it, it's just going to get worse and worse.”

He added: "Listen, we already have a traffic problem so if it gets a little worse to make it better, I think it's worth it and I'd be surprised other people wouldn't agree with that."

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