The New Hyde Park train station and parts of New Hyde Park Road were officially shut on Monday as part of the ongoing construction for the LIRR’s Third Track Expansion project.
The construction will eliminate the grade crossing at New Hyde Park Road and replace it with a five-lane underpass and pedestrian sidewalks on the east and west sides of the road.
The station and New Hyde Park Road between 4th Avenue and Plaza Avenue will be closed until Aug. 30, according to LIRR officials. The section of the road that will be affected is in the villages of New Hyde Park and Garden City.
A temporary traffic detour plan was developed and shared with communities, commuters and local businesses. Additionally, a temporary station with a 10-car platform has been constructed between South 8th and South 12th streets, directly west of the existing station.
Officials said parking is available at the Church of the Holy Spirit parking lot, located at 16 South 6th St. and ticket machines are available on the northwest side of 12th Street.
By eliminating a plan to create a two-lane bypass on New Hyde Park Road and closing the road from Plaza Avenue to 4th Avenue, 3rd Track Constructors, the project’s builders, expects to reap substantial cost savings and reduce the road conversion time from nine months to seven.
3rd Track Constructors representative Travis Brennan has made appearances at Village of New Hyde Park and Lakeville Estates Civic Association meetings to discuss the construction and address residents’ concerns.
“It’s important that we disseminate this information and everyone knows what to expect,” Brennan said during a Jan. 15 Lakeville Estates Civic Association meeting. “We’re certainly not going to make everybody happy. Construction is very difficult. It’s a challenge but in order to progress forward you have to have some struggles and you have to have some headache.”
The general reception of the project from residents has been negative, with many wondering what delays will be added to daily or weekend commutes or about having to deal with more than six months of construction noise.
One New Hyde Park resident expressed a high degree of frustration about the increased local traffic during the Covert Avenue crossing construction. The resident demanded heightened police presence and additional signs as drivers passing through were ignoring stop signs and speeding on residential streets.
Another resident who took one of the inaugural train rides at the temporary station said he doesn’t mind the construction, so long as it creates a safer and more streamlined future.
“We’re at a time where projects that were once considered innovative, are becoming obsolete,” he said. “There is a time for changes in every aspect of life, and for this area, we just so happen to be at that time. It may be an inconvenience, but days and months go by so fast, it will be over before we know it.”
Another resident did not share the same sentiment but accepted that the upgrade to an “antiquated station” is long overdue.
“It’s annoying, and I don’t think the LIRR representatives did a good enough job notifying and helping us through the cause,” she said. “But what’s done is done, and hopefully this project gets done on time.”
The Village of New Hyde Park announced in October that construction would be pushed back from the initial start date of Nov. 18.
According to the MTA, the New Hyde Park Road grade crossing poses a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians and LIRR customers, 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 in the LIRR Main Line corridor from 2007 to 2017.