Ending months of complaint from the Village of Plandome Manor about delays in the repair of the Leeds Pond culvert, the Town of North Hempstead took the first step toward awarding a construction bid for the project.
On Oct. 24, the town Department of Public Works issued a request for proposals from consultants offering professional engineering services for the project, said Carole Trottere, a town spokeswoman. It has set aside $200,000 for such services, according to the proposal.
Barbara Donno, mayor of Plandome Manor, said the news is “great because it means the town is moving forward.”
She said she is concerned that the town has not provided the village with a projected timeline for the repairs. “I don’t want to hear, ‘Yes,we’re doing this but we don’t expect work to be done for the next year or two,” she added.
A construction estimate and schedule is among the services the town is requesting from applicants for the consulting bid.
Town Councilwoman Dina M. De Giorgio said, “Stabilizing and repairing the culvert is a priority because Plandome Road is one of the main arteries in and out of Port Washington. If the road is further compromised and subsequently closed or subject to weight restrictions, it will have a negative impact on my district.”
The culvert, which runs below Plandome Road, was built in 1954. It drains storm-water runoff from freshwater Leeds Pond into Manhasset Bay. But in recent years it has begun cracking as overflow has become more severe, village officials said.
One year before the culvert’s construction, the Town of North Hempstead approved a resolution to purchase a sliver of property that included the eventual location of the culvert as well as nearby areas. The town has since retained responsibility for maintaining the culvert.
Ed Butt, the building inspector in the Village of Plandome Manor, said the matter is especially urgent as winter approaches, when the intermittent freezing and thawing of the water inside the culvert causes significant damage to it. The road above the culvert is starting to sink on both sides, Donno said.
De Giorgio said she has been “working cooperatively with Mayor Donno and the town to secure funding to repair the culvert.”
State Sen. Jack Martins obtained a $1.5 million appropriation for the project, and a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation was announced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Sept. 23.
Donno expressed frustration that she had not been contacted about the request for proposals. The last time she spoke to town officials about the culvert repair was at a meeting on Oct. 5 at Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s office. At that time, the town had not finalized a plan to go forward with the bidding process, Donno said.