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Opinion

EDITORIAL: Don't halt Roslyn viaduct funding now

The engineering feat that is the Hoover Dam took five years from start to finish. Closer to home, the Whitestone Bridge was built in 22 months, and the Throgs Neck came in at 21 months. The reconstruction of the Roslyn viaduct is entering its fifth year, and it's only 75 percent complete.

There have been delays due to design problems - despite the fact that the state Department of Transportation spent 14 years on the design - and some issues with the giant yellow crane that hoists the pre-cast segments into place. Now, Gov. David A. Paterson is foolishly halting funding as a way of forcing the legislature to agree to a budget.

The obsolete span is an essential east-west link of Route 25A-Northern Boulevard that 38,000 vehicles use daily to cross Hempstead Harbor and bypass Roslyn Village. So it couldn't be completely closed during reconstruction. Still, when work started in 2005, the estimated time frame was 26 months. And the cost has jumped from $128 million to $131 million.

Paterson has stopped payment on hundreds of state projects - including the viaduct, the Robert Moses Causeway and the Route 110 interchange - to gain leverage over the legislature. The contractors are staying on the job for now but have sued for release of the money. The Senate, not wanting to risk construction delays, voted unanimously Tuesday to release the funding. The Assembly should follow. Stalling highway dollars won't produce a budget, but it will stop traffic. hN

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