The parts of Covert Avenue closed between 1st and 5th avenues in New Hyde Park since April for LIRR third track work reopened on Saturday with a two-lane underpass beneath the new Covert Avenue bridge, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.
MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said that Covert Avenue reopened shortly before 4 p.m. The agency said the underpass project was completed “on time and on budget.”
“We’re delighted that Covert Avenue is open again,” New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said.
In April, a section of Covert Avenue between 1st and 5th avenues was closed to accommodate a grade crossing elimination. By August, the LIRR successfully erected a 1,200-ton bridge at Covert Avenue, replacing the grade crossing.
The Covert Avenue project was the fourth bridge installation done for the third track project this summer. The project is adding a third track on the 9.8-mile stretch of the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.
Montreuil said that the opening occurred 180 days, or exactly six months, from its closing. That was the amount of the time that village and the company overseeing the project, 3rd Track Constructors, agreed on, Montreuil said.
“They absolutely finished it on time,” Montreuil said. “That was the commitment.”
While 3TC deserves credit for finishing the project on time, Montreuil said, “I’d like to give a lot of credit to the people of New Hyde Park.”
Montreuil said that some of the problems that New Hyde Park residents have endured include noise, high levels of traffic, dust and residents having to be relocated during heavy periods of construction.
Upcoming work in New Hyde Park involves building a temporary platform between south 12 street and 8th street as work begins on a new platform for the New Hyde Park LIRR station, Montreuil said. He also said that prep work has begun for the elimination of the grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road, where construction will fully begin in January.
Montreuil said that a benefit to the Covert Avenue project is that driving will be safer for residents.
According to the MTA, the Covert Avenue grade crossing has long been a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians and LIRR customers, and has contributed to noise and air pollution and caused lengthy commutes for drivers and LIRR customers. The need for grade crossing elimination is further illustrated by the six fatal crashes at grade crossing locations in the LIRR Main Line corridor between 2007 to 2017, the MTA said.
Community outreach about the project has often been a source of rigorous discussion in New Hyde Park with the third track often filling up a lot of time during public comment periods in village meetings.
According to the MTA, the LIRR Expansion Project outreach team coordinated with businesses and residents in New Hyde Park to keep the community apprised of construction activities and to provide information about vehicular detours following the April 15 closure of Covert Avenue.
3TC also developed an “Open for Business” program to help local businesses during construction, the MTA said. With safety in mind, the Expansion Project team built a temporary firehouse at South 12th Street in New Hyde Park to provide easier access to emergency services for residents on the south side of the Main Line, as both New Hyde Park Fire Department’s facilities were on the north side.