The story of County Road 39A work:


Hamptons traffic fix coming later in season

February 28, 2007, 2:32 PM EST

Suffolk public works officials say a successful plan used last summer to ease traffic at the Hamptons’ biggest bottleneck — County Road 39 — won’t resume until Memorial Day this year rather than April 1 as originally planned.

The experiment using traffic cones to create a second eastbound lane for a four-mile stretch of the county road where the divided four-lane Sunrise Highway ends will be stalled temporarily because of construction work.

That $2.5-million project, started last month, will widen the overpass where CR 39 crosses St. Andrews Road. The project will require concrete barriers temporarily narrowing the road that will preclude the use of cones to create a temporary lane.

“It’s the lesser of two evils,” said Gilbert Anderson, county public works commissioner, noting that any delay in widening the overpass will only delay the completion of the overall project.

However, Legis. Jay Schnedierman (R-Montauk), chairman of the public works committee urged public works officials to come up with a new solution. “This is not good news,” he said, “The run-up to Memorial Day is insane on the road.”

Southampton Supervisor Patrick Heaney said he also has concerns and suggested that efforts might be made to have contractors work at night or other off-peak times to ease traffic in the next few months. However, Anderson said such a solution is not workable because the widening will require part of the road bed to be torn up and rebuilt, meaning the road will have to remain out of use for a prolonged period of time.

Heaney also worried that traffic could be affected by another part of the project – the need to have the Long Island Power Authority move its light poles back from the existing road, which have almost no shoulders. He has urged the utility to expedite the moving of the poles and make it their “highest priority” before summer starts.