EDITORIAL

Calarco: County hard at work on Waverly project

Rob Calarco, Suffolk County Presiding Officer
Posted 4/9/20

Coronavirus continues to be the biggest and most important news story, and the same will be true for the next several weeks or, more likely, months. Although the pandemic has brought the world to …

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EDITORIAL

Calarco: County hard at work on Waverly project

Posted

Coronavirus continues to be the biggest and most important news story, and the same will be true for the next several weeks or, more likely, months. Although the pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, we must continue to operate as best we can. For Suffolk County government, we are responding to the crisis, but continue to function as normally as we can so we serve our residents.

One of the things that we must do is to work on critical infrastructure projects. Especially in times of economic crisis, local government can be a powerful engine to keep the economy moving. During the recovery from the great recession, many engineering and construction companies relied on government contracts to keep their businesses afloat. While the private sector was frozen by the economic climate, it was government that kept people employed by undertaking large-scale projects that benefited the whole community. And because so many companies were vying for these contracts, it helped keep costs low for taxpayers as companies bid against each other for the opportunity.

One of the projects that I am most excited about has just got- ten underway. County Road 19 (Holbrook Road) is a stretch of road between the Waverly Avenue traffic circle and West Main Street. It serves as one of the primary entrances to Patchogue Village, sitting along the banks of Patchogue Lake.

The road has long been a target for reconstruction. The tight turns of the current traffic pattern make it difficult for large fire trucks to navigate, forcing first responders to take less direct routes. For decades, elected officials from both Suffolk County and the Village of Patchogue have considered ways to better use the space that would greatly improve Patchogue. Two of my predecessors tried to make this project happen, but were unsuccessful. The Reconstruction Plan for County Road 19 will bring much-needed traffic-flow improvements, pedestrian safety, and new greenspace to one of the primary entrances to the downtown area of Patchogue village.

The westbound road of County Road 19 will be moved into the current median to create a new park on Patchogue Lake. The space will provide residents and visitors access to the lake for recreational activities, such as fishing or jogging. A new traffic circle will be built that allows the fire department to more rapidly respond to service calls south of Main Street. Additionally, new catch basins and four bio-retention areas will be built that protect the Patchogue Lake aquatic habitat. There will be a restoration project along the South Shore of the lake that will remove invasive species along the new park space.

One of the major benefits of roadway projects like this one is that they are outdoors and in wide open spaces. This allows construction workers to keep a safe distance from each other to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Even after New York State lifts its stay-at-home order, we will be practicing social distancing for some time as the disease runs its course through the population. Projects like this will be important because they keep people working while being able to keep their distance from each other.

While many are working from home and staying home as much as possible, you may have missed the signs of impending construction in the area. Workers are preparing the area and you will see detouring and construction crews soon. This is a busy entranceway into the village, so I appreciate everyone’s patience while construction is ongoing. This is an exciting project and I am looking forward to seeing yet another enhancement to Patchogue village come to fruition.

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