MTA eyeing full NHP road closure: Berger

MTA eyeing full NHP road closure: Berger
New Hyde Park trustee Rainer Berger said the LIRR third track developers are still considering a full road closure of New Hyde Park Road for a grade crossing elimination project. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The developers of the LIRR third track are considering a plan that would completely close New Hyde Park Road off Jericho Turnpike with no bypass route during construction work to eliminate the grade crossing there, New Hyde Park Trustee Rainer Berger said at a village meeting Thursday.

“Both the MTA and the 3TC again are evaluating a complete closure of New Hyde Park Road,” Berger said. “Basically, they’re looking at no bypass road.”

For now, the closure of New Hyde Park road will not take place until Feb. 2020, Berger said.

Berger said he and New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil are still advocating for 3TC to build a single lane bypass road to mitigate traffic on New Hyde Park Road.

He said that as of now a bypass route is still the plan and said that a final closure plan will be discussed at a meeting on Dec. 9. 

“Right now, the construction drawings we have still have a bypass road,” Berger said.

Montreuil said if the road was fully closed at the grade crossing, then it would become a “dead end” by the New Hyde Park LIRR station.

Berger also said that it has become increasingly challenging to navigate New Hyde Park Road, as preliminary construction has already begun, noting that the striping of lanes on the road are hard to see, especially at night. 

“I couldn’t even figure out the lanes and the way to ease back and forth,” Berger said.

He said issues like that will be discussed at the village meeting with 3TC.

The New Hyde Park Road grade crossing in the Village of New Hyde Park is one of eight street-level crossings along the LIRR Main Line corridor being eliminated as part of the LIRR Expansion Project from Floral Park to Hicksville.

The New Hyde Park Road grade crossing poses a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians, and LIRR customers, the MTA said. The grade crossing, they said, also contributes to noise and air pollution and causes longer commutes for drivers and LIRR customers.

The MTA said there were six fatal crashes at grade-crossing locations on the LIRR Main Line corridor between 2007 to 2017.

“This coming year we plan to finish up most of the work in New Hyde Park including simultaneously rebuilding the train station and eliminating the grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road,” MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said.

As with all the work on the third track project, the MTA is looking to do these two major elements in the “fastest and safest manner,” which includes closing New Hyde Park Road during construction in the vicinity of the train tracks, Daniels said.

“As always, the project team will continue coordinating with the county and the villages, and will provide advance notice to the public about any road closures and traffic detours and train service changes,” she said.

The New Hyde Park grade crossing is being reconstructed to feature a new five-lane underpass with pedestrian sidewalks on the east and west sides of the underpass, the MTA said. There will also be a left-turn lane from southbound New Hyde Park Road to Clinch Avenue.

According to the LIRR’s “A Modern LI” website, construction on the project is expected to be finished by Summer 2020.

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