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MTA: Urban Avenue grade crossing closes Friday as part of LIRR's third track project

A view of the LIRR crossing at Urban

A view of the LIRR crossing at Urban Avenue in Westbury, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The Long Island Rail Road is set to close one of its grade crossings in Westbury on Friday, more than a week after an accident at another nearby crossing killed three people.

The railroad said Wednesday that, beginning on Friday, its crossing at Urban Avenue in Westbury's New Cassel community will be shuttered until at least this fall, as construction crews carry out a plan to rebuild the road as an underpass beneath the LIRR’s tracks.

The crossing is one of seven to be eliminated as part of the LIRR’s $2.6 billion effort to construct a 9.8-mile-long third track on its Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville. Also scheduled for elimination is a nearby crossing at School Street in Westbury, where police say a sport utility vehicle drove around downed gates Feb. 26 and was struck by two trains. The vehicle’s three occupants were killed.

MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber said that the accident “is a painful reminder of the dangers posed by some grade crossings.”

“We are working hard to be able to reopen the rebuilt, safer roadway in just a matter of months,” Lieber said of the Urban Avenue crossing. “Eliminating this railroad crossing and six others between Floral Park and Hicksville will make the area safer for everyone and also improve convenience for drivers and pedestrians.”

Vehicles will be detoured around the closed crossing for the duration of the construction. And the project’s contractor, 3TC, will provide a free shuttle service to help pedestrians get across the tracks seven days a week, every half-hour from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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