Cars drive past a pothole on the westbound Northern State...

Cars drive past a pothole on the westbound Northern State Parkway near the entrance to the Wantagh State Parkway on Wednesday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Smoother driving is on the horizon for thousands of Long Island drivers.

A $9 million makeover is coming to a stretch of the Northern State Parkway in Nassau County as part of a $100 million statewide initiative to revamp roadways damaged by extreme weather, officials announced Wednesday.

Starting in the fall, roughly 26 lane miles, including ramps, will be resurfaced on the parkway between the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Exit 31A, to the Wantagh State Parkway, Exit 33, through the town of North Hempstead.

That section is used by about 166,000 motorists daily and was last repaved in 2014, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The project is expected to wrap up by summer of 2024.

State funding will target 64 areas across the state impacted by New York’s climate, known for its freeze-thaw cycles, where water seeps into cracks in the pavement, and freezes when temperatures fall, causing cracks to expand and craters to erupt.

And while the region has seen a rather mild winter with essentially no snow, roads still need maintenance and any money allocated to fixing them is well-spent, according to Robert Sinclair Jr., AAA Northeast spokesman.

“The weather has been very cooperative so far but we still have lots of poor pavement. Every dollar helps,” Sinclair said, noting that the area has experienced more severe weather the past few years and traffic has also increased.

“We still don’t have Long Island Rail Road ridership up to pre-pandemic levels,” Sinclair said. “All those people that aren’t riding public transit are driving and that adds to the wear and tear on the roads.”

Poorly maintained roads lead to more accidents and congestion and forces car owners to shell out more for maintenance. 

 "We are making historic investments in transportation infrastructure to create safer roads and smooth, hassle-free commutes for all travelers," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a release announcing the initiative. 

Local officials applauded the long-awaited much-needed improvements. 

 "That stretch of road has long been neglected and these infrastructure improvements will go a long way towards improving drivability and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our residents who rely on these roads daily," said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena.

Westbury Village Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro, also agreed. “The repaving will make the entire roadway much safer and there should be many fewer broken wheels and flat tires once the project is complete," he added in a statement.

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