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Route 114 Repaving Begins

Thu, 03/10/2022 - 13:18

Large electronic billboards on wheels showed up last week along the shoulders of Route 114 to announce that the long-awaited resurfacing from the South Ferry on North Haven to Stephen Hand’s Path in East Hampton would begin this week.

The work will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and, according to an email from Stephen Canzoneri, a public information officer for the State Department of Transportation, “Everything is on schedule, weather permitting.”

A call to his office asking for further details was not returned, and while the D.O.T. website estimates the “substantial completion date” to be Dec. 1, the hope is that the work will be completed before the summer season.

“There’s no way drivers won’t experience some interruption as the project goes on,” Sag Harbor Mayor James Larocca said at the village board meeting Tuesday night.

“It shouldn’t have been as hard as it was to get this started,” Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said by phone. “It took a major lobbying effort and organizing local government officials to bring attention to the road. Money that should have gone to upkeeping existing infrastructure got diverted by the last governor to other big capital projects. Keeping the existing roads in good repair was a less press-worthy thing.”

“The Long Island Expressway looks like the surface of the moon,” he said. “So, getting 114 on the five-year capital plan and getting it out to bid was difficult because there are so many other demands and needs. I give credit to the East End mayors and town supervisors. Twice a year we would contact D.O.T. and tell them, ‘You really need to do 114.’ ”

Preparatory work began months ago. The surface reflectors from Sag Harbor Village to the South Ferry have been removed, for example, creating an unintentionally thrilling off-road experience for those driving that stretch of the road.

Route 114 hasn’t been fully repaved since 2005. Although it’s a state road, its condition directly affects Sag Harbor as it skirts the village. The intersection at Bay and Division Streets is particularly troublesome, as parked delivery trucks often limit visibility.

“A lot of traffic is about psychology and behavior, and we get a lot of very impatient people,” said Mayor Larocca. “We have people headed to and from work, the trades, and then many who live in a faster-moving world altogether. They don’t understand that this is a historic whaling village, built over three-plus centuries that until recently didn’t have a single Range Rover in it.”

Aside from the heavily trafficked Route 27, Route 114 has had more fatalities than any other South Fork road east of the Shinnecock Canal.

The resurfacing will be conducted by H&L Contracting of Hauppauge. According to the nearly $10 million contract, the asphalt laid now should last “10 to 12 years.” A representative of H&L didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the D.O.T. website says the repaving will create a “distress-free condition by milling and resurfacing the existing pavement . . . to increase safety and provide a smooth riding surface for vehicular travel.”

“With an influx of infrastructure money and a new governor, I’m hoping that both state and local roads will be better maintained, and we won’t face this again,” said Mr. Thiele.

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