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Long IslandTransportation

State to fund 9 LI bridge, road projects

ALBANY -- Long Island will get nine bridge and road projects under the New York Works program that will start construction this year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office announced Tuesday.

The projects will repair 86 miles of roads, and along with bridge work totals $40.7 million.

In a news release, Cuomo called the program "a new and smarter strategy for putting New Yorkers back to work by rebuilding our aging infrastructure and helping put our state's economy back on track."

The statewide program is a mix of old and new projects that will be coordinated by a board controlled by the governor. The road projects announced Tuesday will use $247 million in state funding and an anticipated $917 million in federal funding.

Long Island projects include bridge repairs in Hempstead, Huntington, Brookhaven, Babylon and Islip. It also includes roadwork on the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Bread and Cheese Hollow Road and the Long Island Expressway.

The biggest project on Long Island will be the $16 million reconstruction of parapets on nine bridges on the Meadowbrook and Southern State parkways. The bridges were built during the Robert Moses era and will be brought up to 21st century safety standards while preserving their historic character, according to the governor's office.

What sets these projects apart from the state's regular bridge and road program is the contracting process. Traditionally, the state would bid out a design contract, then when that was finished, bid out a construction contract. Legislation passed in December allows the state to give out single contracts for both design and construction, which Long Island Contractors Association executive director Marc Herbst said will get projects done much quicker.

"A lot of work can be done simultaneously," Herbst said. For example, testing needed to build a bridge can now be done at the same time the engineering plans are being drawn up, he said. The Department of Transportation approved a short list of four teams of engineering and construction firms to do bridgework on Long Island.

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