The Sagtikos/Sunken Meadow State Parkway planning saga continued Wednesday night when the state unveiled specific proposals on how it might improve the 11-mile, north-south corridor in western Suffolk County.
Dozens of people viewed proposed changes on 32 easels spread around the meeting room at the William T. Rogers Middle School in Kings Park. The displays showed various proposed improvements including reconfigured interchanges and red lights added to entrance ramps to regulate the flow of traffic.
Kings Park resident Charles Herbert, 75, said he was glad to see the plan calls for improvement at Pulaski Road, where he gets off the parkway.
“This parkway was built to take people to the beach in the 1950s,” he said, referring to the Sunken Meadow stretch. “It needs improvement.”
Charles Lansdown, 63, of Fort Salonga, said he was concerned that widening the roadway would result in the loss of trees or encroachment onto homeowners’ properties.
About 100 people had turned out for two public review sessions last year, and several of them said they were disappointed at the sketchy nature of plans from the state Department of Transportation.
This week’s sessions, the first on Wednesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. in Kings Park, propose specific changes based on comments submitted by the public after last year’s sessions, a DOT spokeswoman said.
The Brentwood session will be Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Brentwood North Middle School, 350 Wicks Rd.
The Sagtikos State Parkway, which runs from the Southern State Parkway to Fort Salonga Road/Route 25A in Smithtown, was built between 1950 and 1953. The Sunken Meadow State Parkway extended the road north to King Park and was built between 1954 and 1957.
The agency has avoided linking the 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.
About 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 were opposed. Only four comments mentioned the Heartland project by name.
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 and $11 million in its five-year capital plan for an environmental impact study.