L.I. leaders celebrate Covert Ave. reopening

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County Executive Laura Curran, pictured holding the "railroad crossing" sign with the MTA's Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber, said Covert Avenue reopening is “another milestone” reached for the LIRR third track project. (Photo courtesy of the MTA Long Island Rail Road / Trent Reeves)

Long Island leaders gathered to celebrate the Oct. 12 reopening of Covert Avenue between 1st and 5th Avenue after six months of work on the LIRR’s third track last Thursday.

Attendees of the event included MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber, along with LIRR Senior Vice President of Engineering Chris Calvagna, state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, New Hyde Park Village Mayor Lawrence Montreuil, the 3rd Track Constructors team, and labor leaders representing the LIRR workforce.

“With the completion of the Covert Avenue project, residents can now enjoy a safer and more livable community while commuters will benefit from improved infrastructure and efficiency,” Curran said in a statement.

She said that the project opening is “another milestone” reached for the LIRR Expansion Project which she said will support transit-oriented development throughout Nassau County and helping spur growth in local communities for generations to come.

The Covert Avenue project was the fifth bridge installation done for the third track project this summer, the MTA said. The project is adding a third track on the 9.8-mile stretch of the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.

“We’re delighted that Covert Avenue is open again,” Montreuil said in a previous interview.

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.

“The LIRR Expansion Project is moving forward at an extraordinary pace, which is why it is the model project for how we are changing the way we manage large capital projects to do them better, faster and cheaper,” Lieber said.

Lieber said the LIRR is “keeping this pace up” over the next 35 months with four more bridges to replace and six more grade crossings to eliminate in that time.

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.

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 New Hyde Park Trustee Rainer Berger said the start date of Nov. 18 has been delayed until January.

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