By Rebecca Anderson
Demolition of an old commercial building at 124 Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park began this week and residents should expect traffic delays in the area, village officials said Tuesday night.
The work is part of the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project, which calls for eliminating the grade crossing at Covert Ave. and replacing it with an underpass.
“We know we are definitely going to see some night work on Covert Avenue,” village Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said. “However, we want to emphasize that we are looking for plans to see how they will mitigate noise and how they will organize their work so that the loud work is done during the day and the less intrusive work at night.”
Night work is expected to last until March – one month later than anticipated – and construction is slated for completion in six months, officials said at a regularly scheduled board meeting.
By eliminating the at-grade crossing at Covert Avenue, noise levels will be noticeably lower. The new underpass will also improve traffic flow and make the community safer.
The crossing is one of seven that will be eliminated during the third rail project.
The project, which will add a track to the 9.8-mile main line from Floral Park to Hicksville, will include upgrades to six stations, including Carle Place, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Hicksville and New Cassel.
Village Trustee Rainer Burger said he was meeting with representatives from 3rd Track Constructors and the Long Island Rail Road on Wednesday to review design drawings, traffic and construction plans and overall feedback from the community.
“As of today, things have been going pretty well with communications and broadcasts going out,” Burger said. “We will also continue monitoring the landscape designs and how many trees we want going up in the area.”
Trustees explained the village’s preparation for potential issues with parking, construction and excessive noise.
According to the village, traffic may be limited to a single lane on Covert Avenue to allow for utilities to be relocated, both overhead and underground, and crews will set new utility poles along First Avenue, Second Avenue, South Sixth Street, South Fifth Avenue, South Eighth Street and Wayne Avenue.
There may be partial lane closures and when necessary, the construction team will provide cones, flagmen and signs to minimize interruptions.
“We are also taking a very close look at delivery routes and our focus is on the Covert Avenue crossings,” Burger added. “I will be requesting routes to see how materials will be brought in and plans of how we can ease traffic and congestion.”
In September, business leaders and residents from New Hyde Park and adjacent towns, led the groundbreaking of the expansion project at the Urban Avenue grade crossing in New Cassel. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber, LIRR President Phillip Eng, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also attended.
“Everyone we’ve worked with up to this point has been very cooperative,” Montreuil added. “Time is of the essence for them and I do believe they have the best interests of New Hyde Park residents.”
Boy Scouts filled the rows of seats at the New Hyde Park Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.
The Scouts attended the meeting to receive their Citizenship in the Community badge. They also asked the board questions and led the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the meeting.
The next New Hyde Park village board meeting will take place on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.