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Sagtikos Parkway redesign hearings to be held this week

An evening view of the Sagtikos Parkway seen

An evening view of the Sagtikos Parkway seen from the overpass on Crooked Hill Road in Brentwood on Sept. 15, 2015. The state this week will unveil plans for improving the 11-mile, north-south corridor. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Sagtikos Parkway planning saga continues this week when the state unveils specific proposals on how it might improve the 11-mile, north-south corridor in western Suffolk County.

About 100 people turned out for public review sessions last year, and several of them said they were disappointed at the sketchy nature of plans for the highway — which includes the northern section known as the Sunken Meadow parkway — by the state Department of Transportation.

This week’s sessions in Brentwood and Kings Park will propose specific changes based on comments submitted by the public after last year’s sessions, a DOT spokeswoman said last week.

The proposals will not be publicly available until the first meeting Wednesday evening in Kings Park, but they will include, for example, a redesign of congested areas, such as the interchange at Pine Aire Drive in Brentwood, the spokeswoman said.

The Kings Park session will be at the William T. Rogers Middle School at 97 Old Dock Rd. The Brentwood session will be Thursday at the Brentwood North Middle School, 350 Wicks Rd. Both sessions will be from 6 to 9 p.m.

The DOT will again accept public comments, which will be included in a final study to be released early next year, agency spokeswoman Eileen Peters said.

The agency has avoided linking the Sagtikos study to the proposed Heartland Town Square project just south of the Long Island Expressway.

That project envisions a mini-city with thousands of apartments and 4 million square feet of retail or office space on the grounds of the former Pilgrim State Hospital site, adjacent to the Sagtikos.

The long-stalled Heartland project inched forward in August when the Islip Town Planning Board voted to recommend approval of the first stage of the project to the Islip Town Board, which has final authority.

Environmental studies for the Heartland project make clear that improvements to area roads are needed, including the possible widening of the Sagtikos to three lanes in each direction from the current two lanes.

Some 50 people, most of them Suffolk County residents, submitted comments to the DOT last year after viewing the earlier presentation. Eight comments favored widening the roadway; nine opposed. Only four comments mentioned the Heartland project by name.

Nine comments specifically called for improvements at the Pine Aire Drive interchange and nine called for improving entrance and exit ramps. The most comments on a single topic were requests for bicycle and/or walking paths along the route.

The cost of construction will depend on the alternatives chosen by the DOT, which had $3.4 million in its budget last year for planning for the Sagtikos and $11 million in its five-year capital plan for an environmental impact study.


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