OAKDALE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — The Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA) and local elected officials held a press conference at the Oakdale Merge, calling for solutions to deal with what they said is a notoriously dangerous intersection.
A public call for funding for an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) was also made. The press conference comes on the heels of the Governor’s budget, and what local officials characterize as a stagnant funding proposal for Long Island highways, roads and bridges in the new Two Year Capital Plan, at a time when infrastructure is crumbling.
Meanwhile, LICA’s recently released Long Island Roadways Pavement Study found that 82% of 379 lane miles of local Long Island roads analyzed are in “poor or fair condition.” In 2018, NYSDOT held a forum with possible fixes to the area, including widening or adding lanes, incorporating bridges or viaducts, however, there has been no action from the state.
“We simply cannot wait,” said Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association. “The Oakdale Merge is a dangerous intersection and it is time to get the funding for an EIS and solve this problem. Not only will it save lives, which is the most important thing, it will alleviate traffic at critical times for Long Islanders. It’s a no-brainer. Fix the merge.”
“The safety of all of our residents is paramount," said Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. "I would like to thank LICA, and my colleagues on the state and local levels, for bringing this important issue to the forefront, and for taking the necessary steps to ensuring that everyone arrives at their destination safely,” she said.
State Senator Phil Boyle said, “As a member of the Senate Majority, I was proud to secure $20 million in our state budget for the design and engineering of a fix for the Oakdale Merge. Now is the time to take the next major step. We need additional funding in our state budget to begin construction on a project to solve this problem, and save our residents from increasingly long traffic nightmares here. I’m proud to stand with these local leaders in calling for a solution to the Oakdale Merge. Together, we will get it done.”
Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino said, “I stand in solidarity with LICA, these leaders and the people on Long Island in calling for an overhaul to Oakdale Merge. It has been a priority for years, and it can no longer be ignored.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “For decades the Oakdale Merge has been a major concern for Suffolk residents resulting in significant congestion along this busy stretch of highway. Working with stakeholders and our partners in government we are going to advocate for the funding necessary to see this critical project through.”
Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, “Enough is enough. We need funding now to improve traffic and safety conditions on this major intersection. The people of Babylon deserve it, and the people of Long Island deserve it.”
Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association: “The LIA’s 2020 Priorities include support for a new capital plan that fully funds critical road, highway and bridge projects on Long Island, and the Oakdale Merge should be one of the top priority projects in that plan, and thus we support the efforts of LICA and Supervisor Angie Carpenter to remedy the traffic and safety issues there.”
As the voice of Long Island's Highway and Infrastructure Professionals, LICA represents Long Island's premier heavy construction general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and industry supporters. Focused primarily in the infrastructure construction industry, such as highways, bridges, sewers, parks, other public works and private site development, LICA's member companies play a significant role in sustaining the region's quality of life and economic engine that is Nassau and Suffolk Counties.