LIRR Main Line expansion construction begins

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LIRR Main Line expansion construction begins
A train pulling into the Mineola train station. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is breaking ground on the anticipated, and often contested, Main Line Expansion project with major construction projects coming to New Hyde Park, Floral Park and Mineola later this year.

There are 10 projects starting between now and 2019 as part of the $2.6 billion plan to build a third track on the 9.8-mile Main Line that stretches from Floral Park to Hicksville, six of which are within Floral Park, New Hyde Park and Mineola.

Among the projects is the removal of the Covert Avenue street crossing, the addition of an elevator at the Floral Park station and the creation of a new parking garage in Mineola.

The groundwork for next winter’s work on the Covert Avenue crossing elimination has already begun with utility lines relocated near the New Hyde Park crossing.

The Covert Avenue street crossing is the first of seven crossings that will be eliminated along the Main Line, and is expected to be done in the winter of 2019.

A two-lane roadway and sidewalk will be placed in an underpass below the tracks.

From February to March there will be 24-hour, five-day-a-week drilling and excavation along Covert Avenue, New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said in a letter to residents.

“We were told for this project to be completed on time, it will be necessary to work around the clock,” Montreuil said.

Another early project in the timeline of the third track construction is the building of the Mineola Harrison parking structure, slated for this fall.

The LIRR plans to build a 551-space garage, located on an existing parking lot west of Mineola Boulevard, between Harrison Avenue and First Street.

The new lot, like the existing one, will be used by both LIRR customers and visitors to downtown Mineola.

The Mineola station will be further renovated in spring 2019 to replace the platform and rehabilitate the station house.

The updates will include a new platform canopy, cameras, Wi-Fi and charging stations.

The pedestrian overpass will also be replaced and include two new elevators.

The Floral Park station will get three elevators, one for each of the station’s three platforms, in spring of 2019.

Also in Floral Park, the LIRR bridges over Plainfield Avenue and South Tyson Avenue will be widened.

The South Tyson bridge will be raised in spring of 2019 to a height of 14 feet, from 11 feet and 10 inches, to reduce the number of trucks that strike the bridge and cause delays.

The Plainfield Avenue bridge will be raised in fall of 2019 to a height of 14 feet from the current 12 feet 9 inches.

Other upcoming upgrades include widening the Cherry Lane bridge in Carle Place, renovating the Carle Place station, widening the Meadowbrook Parkway bridge and eliminating the Urban Avenue crossing in New Cassel.

Later, the South 12th Street and New Hyde Park Road crossings in New Hyde Park are set to be eliminated.

There are also plans for further renovations to the New Hyde Park station.

Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at rklar@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.

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