As motorists pass the intersection of Soma Avenue and Merrick Road in Bellmore, they may notice a construction site near the creek there. That’s because Nassau County crews are repairing the Whaleneck Creek culvert.
Michael Martino, a Nassau County Department of Public Works spokesman, explained that the culvert allows a creek to flow south under Merrick Road. The $400,000 project is being funded by the Nassau County capital program, which has more than 300 projects in the works.
Medford-based contractor D.F. Stone is doing the culvert project, which should be completed within six months, Martino said.
“Each year culverts and bridges are evaluated and marked for rehabilitation, if necessary,” he said.
The Whaleneck Creek project includes concrete repairs of the culvert, cleaning of debris and graffiti from the structure’s surfaces, and repairs of Merrick Road. Martino noted that the project has progressed on time, and crews have not encountered any challenges.
County Legislator Dave Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, said he hopes the culvert project will help alleviate flooding in the area, particularly during storms.
Denenberg said he has spoken with residents about how poor drainage of storm water has led to flooding in the south Bellmore-Merrick area. He said that area culverts may have been unable to handle the flow of water and other materials because they were aging or needed routine maintenance.
“The creeks throughout the South Shore receive storm water runoff from streets, and the creeks take that water into the bays,” Denenberg said. “The culverts themselves need to be improved so they can handle greater flow without getting backed up. You want proper drainage.”
Natalie Molloy, administrator of the Bellmore Moms Facebook group, said she would like to see sidewalks near the creek widened and a guardrail installed around them to make the area safer for pedestrians.
Denenberg sent a letter to Shila Shah-Gavnoudias, the Department of Public Works commissioner, on Jan. 30, asking about the possible installation of a traffic light near Soma Avenue. Denenberg urged the DPW to install the light because of increased traffic and obstructed sight lines on Merrick Road.