Covert Avenue road closure planned for February

Covert Avenue road closure planned for February
New Hyde Park officials and representatives for the "LIRR Expansion Project" spoke with residents (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Around-the-clock construction to eliminate the grade crossing at Covert Avenue, as part of the LIRR project to construct a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville, is planned to begin Feb. 2019. The road will be closed at the intersection of the tracks for six months.

New Hyde Park officials and representatives from the MTA along with 3rd Track Constructors, or 3TC, the design-build firm contracted for the “LIRR Expansion Project”, spoke with residents last Thursday about the construction and development that will soon be occurring in their town.

There will be night and weekend work, said Travis Brennan, director of community outreach at 3TC, “with most intensive work performed during the day.”

Maureen Wagner, a New Hyde Park resident, asked what measurements will be put in place to ease the noise disturbance. “The third track will be outside my bedroom window, literally,” she said, “I would like to get some sleep some nights.”

John Mccarthy,  a representative from the MTA, responded: “we have put into our contract with 3TC very strict guidelines on the type of equipment that they can use, what levels of noise at what times of day and times of night, how it’s muffled and putting barriers around the construction site.”

3TC’s contract with the MTA/ LIRR includes provisions for monetary penalties if projected goals are not met, said Brennan, along with bonuses for exceeding expected performance.

Brennan stressed that residents utilize their multiple contact methods to notify the developers of issues they have with the ongoing construction.

Since he has been brought onto the team in May, he said, there has been “no concern brought forward that has gone 48 hours without being addressed.”

Both village officials and representatives are confident that the design-build method implemented for this project would facilitate a more positive experience for the residents affected than previous projects.

Mayor Lawrence J. Montreuil said, “what he has seen in the renovation plan and all of the proposals was an emphasis on sensitivity to the community.”

Brennan said that a design-build is a living, breathing project that has flexibility. “We have a team of professionals working on this plan which incorporates all of the comments we’ve heard for the past two years,” he said.

Prior to the closure, utility companies have been working to relocate utilities in order to accommodate for the project and further traffic studies are being conducted.

Stantec, a consulting company spearheading the traffic studies, has been in the area to determine how to employ existing infrastructure to minimalize impacts of the Covert Avenue road closure on neighborhoods and local traffic.

Julie DiGennaro, Stantec’s transportation engineer specializing in the Covert Avenue road closure, discussed these methods which include signal time changes, turning prohibitions, intersection restriping, temporary signals or stop controls and temporary crosswalks.

“Our goal is to prevent through traffic, that is traffic that does not start or end in this area, from entering the area altogether or detour them around as far as we can so they are off your residential streets,” said DiGennaro.

Joyce Messer, a village resident, asked if traffic patterns were to affect her street, “would there be repair work at the end of this?”

Montreil said that as part of the memorandum of understanding between the village and the MTA, “if roads were to deteriorate because of the project those roads will be resurfaced at the state’s expense.”

The grade crossing on Covert Avenue will be replaced with a two-lane underpass with a sidewalk on the eastern side and the track will be elevated five feet.

Once construction is completed at Covert Avenue, 3TC plans to begin work on the grade crossing on New Hyde Park Road followed by S. 12th St.

“When we are working on New Hyde Park road we will have returned Covert Avenue to a place it has never been since the inception of the railroad,” said Brennan.

3TC, a consortium conceived for this project, is comprised of Dragados USA Inc., John P. Picone Inc., CCA Civil Inc. and Halmar International LLC.

The “LIRR Expansion Project” is expected to be completed in Dec. 2022.

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