The total closure of the grade crossing at Covert Avenue has been delayed a month, according to New Hyde Park Village Trustee Rainer Burger.
At a Nov. 15 meeting with 3TC, the joint-venture responsible for building the 9.8 mile long Long Island Rail Road third track, the village board was informed that the closing of the grade crossing will now begin March 1 instead of Feb. 1 as previously planned, to account for continued utility work.
“So that has been pushed,” Burger said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
The plan outlined in the LIRR Expansion Project newsletter is to eliminate the grade crossing in its entirety and create a vehicular and pedestrian underpass. In total, seven grade crossings will be replaced with underpasses between Floral Park and Hicksville.
The delay is helpful coincidentally, because the village has still not seen, but has requested, plans for the temporary shelter for the village’s firetrucks, Burger said.
An overhead structure will be erected in the community parking lot on South Twelfth Street, just south of the LIRR tracks. The New Hyde Park Fire Department is located north of the LIRR tracks where the construction will be taking place.
The relocation of equipment will provide allow for the continuance ample response times in emergency situations while construction is going on in the area, Burger said.
“When we started out the project, key to our safety concerns was making sure that we get the proper response,” Burger said.
3TC told the village that designs for the structure would come in December and they would ask for the permits, and Burger said that “they would get the permits once the board has reviewed all the requirements.”
“We’re not going to allow construction to start nor allow permits to be issued until we’re satisfied with what we have in terms of a shelter,” Burger said.
The demolition of an abandoned building at 124 Covert Ave. also began Nov. 19.
“They’re basically working from the inside out,” Burger said. “Right now, the building still stands but I’m expecting to see the walls to start coming down any time.”
Resident Paul Demattina of Seventh Avenue expressed concern over rodent control while the demolition occurs.
“Any time we do excavation like that we absolutely should and absolutely will,” Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said.
“I know for a fact when I go in my garage in the spring, I find the remnants of what the mice left behind,” Demattina said. “They’re there, and I’m afraid that when you start breaking that garage up it’s going to be loaded with them.”
“We require it on demolition permits and we do have weekly rodent control on that property because of the age and the nooks and crannies,” Building Department Superintendent Tom Gannon said.
The abrupt removal of 33 trees from the area of construction between Nov.5 and Nov. 9 as part of the erection of a retaining wall for the underpass took some residents and even the board by surprise, Burger said.
“For the board, as well as the village overall, it is very disheartening to see the trees come down,” Burger said. “Trustee Rich Pallisco and the village do a lot of beautification, with Tree USA and so forth, so we take it seriously.”
There is a landscaping design plan that requires the trees fo be replaced. However, the trees will not be replaced on a one-to-one ratio, but by the girth of those that were cut down.
“If they cut down a ten-inch diameter tree and the put in two-inch saplings, we get five of them,” Burger said.
Trustee Pallisco, Gannon and members of the Department of Public Works went out and recorded the trunks of the trees that were cut, Burger said.
“We’re going to save that and as the tree planting starts and the construction is done, we’re going to make sure those trees get replaced,” Burger said.