A pipe extending from a depression in Old Country Road...

A pipe extending from a depression in Old Country Road in Plainview (Jan. 17, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Judy Cartwright

"In Plainview, there is a depression in Old Country Road where a pipe is sticking up," Janet Newman of Old Bethpage told us. And as the dip in the road deepened, it exposed more pipe to the tires of passing vehicles.

The pipe was in an eastbound lane between Route 135 and the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, and Newman feared its presence could lead to mayhem if drivers swerved to avoid it.

Old Country Road belongs to Nassau County, so we asked the county's Department of Public Works whether a repair was scheduled. It wasn't, and for good reason: The pipe, we were told, belongs to National Grid.

Soon after we contacted NatGrid the roadway dip was filled in, spokeswoman Wendy Ladd said. The location now resembles a patched pothole and the pipe no longer protrudes.

"We hot patched it so it's safe now," Ladd said, adding that the site is scheduled for permanent repair.

You may be wondering, as we were: What's a pipe doing in a roadway?

It's part of a "valve box," Ladd explained. The pipe, which she said is three to four feet long, provides access to a valve on an underground gas line.

And she assured us there was no danger gas would escape through the pipe.




A busy intersection in Bay Shore with faded road lines described as "almost invisible" has been repainted by the Town of Islip.

Anita Vollaro of Bay Shore contacted us last year about the road lines and arrows on Brentwood Road at the intersection with Union Boulevard. The lines and arrows were so faded, she said, that many drivers were using the right- and left-turn lanes as through lanes. The result: a free-for-all when the light turned green.

Vollaro told the town about the faded lines and, when improvements didn't appear, turned to Watchdog for help. So we asked the town about the almost invisible pavement markings. Within weeks, the lines were repainted.

Islip officials said the job was on the town's to-do list before our call and had been delayed by superstorm Sandy.

"As you can imagine, our Department of Public Works performed a tremendous emergency cleanup throughout November," said town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia. "As clearing and flood drainage from the storm was completed, some crews were returned to regular business of striping and paving."

Vollaro emailed us upon seeing the fresh paint. "It is great that it has been done," she said and told us about faded lines on a road in another community. We'll look into it.

Town of Islip residents with similar concerns on town roads can reach the Department of Public Works at 631-224-5600.




In December we got a note about an abandoned car -- one that a driver told us had been sitting in the same place for more than five years.

The car is "in woods 15 feet from the Southern State Parkway," Jerry LaForgia wrote in an email. "It is just west of Elmont Road, westbound on the SSP. It's a maroon Nissan Maxima circa 1978."

LaForgia, of Lynbrook, said he had contacted a variety of public offices in an effort to get the car removed, all to no avail.

Because the car was on land so close to a parkway, we turned to the state Department of Transportation and asked whether the department has responsibility for such vehicles and sent along the abandoned car's location.

On Jan. 19, LaForgia notified us that the car was gone.

The car was removed two days earlier, department spokeswoman Eileen Peters told us, a job the department undertook in cooperation with State Police.

"There is some ongoing discussion regarding the jurisdictional responsibility for the vehicle since this location is on the border between Nassau County and the New York City line," Peters wrote in an email. "Nevertheless, NYSDOT removed the vehicle for the benefit of the local residents."

Who, in turn, owe thanks to Mr. LaForgia's persistence.