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West Broadway awaits repair

Resurfacing and drainage project expected to start in 2020

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Four years ago, Nassau County officials announced plans for a roadway resurfacing and sidewalk repair project along West Broadway that was supposed to start in 2016. The project has yet to begin, however.

According to the county’s Department of Public Works spokeswoman, Mary Studdert, the scope of the work on the county road is still being discussed. “The technical review committee has selected a consultant for the design of the project,” Studdert wrote in an email. “The contract is currently in the county’s contract approval process.”

Roughly 15 residents who live along or near the road, which stretches from Hewlett through Cedarhurst, call themselves the West Broadway Committee. Woodmere resident Aaron Weinreb founded the group five years ago. He lives just off the road. “My wife and I started collecting signatures at Little League baseball games about five years ago, since we were so frustrated with the road conditions,” Weinreb said. “We live in such a nice neighborhood, and West Broadway looks like it doesn’t belong here.”

The most recent work on West Broadway was what county officials described as a “partial repair” of portions of the road in Cedarhurst and Woodmere. As well, parts of West Broadway between Rockaway Turnpike and the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Woodmere, near Broadway, were milled and paved. Studdert noted that the work was a temporary fix.

“We recently completed immediate corrective measures to West Broadway . . . in order to keep the roadway safe and minimize driver discomfort,” she said. “The design is currently being done for a larger West Broadway drainage and resurfacing project over the next couple of years.”

The recent work was done  in late June and, Weinreb said, no one communicated with him or the committee before it began. “I was surprised when the work started, since there was no communication from any county or town representative that it was happening,” he said. “I think the work was done due to us pushing for it.”

Committee members have been in constant contact with County Legislators Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) and Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), expressing displeasure with the road conditions. Ford said that while final details are still being worked out, the project is slated to get under way in late 2020. “With road projects like this, it’s a process that includes getting permission from the state,” she said. “The bureaucratic government process has delayed the work.”

Kopel said in a statement that he would continue to push for more roadwork. “I have been and will continue to advocate for the Administration to conduct a complete repaving of West Broadway, including curbs and sidewalks, as this project is in the best interest of all residents in the community,” he said. “I will continue working to secure the resources to improve our district’s roads, and revitalize our infrastructure.”

Ahron Rosenthal, who lives along West Broadway in Woodmere, is a committee member. He said the roadway is overburdened. “When West Broadway was built over 50 years ago, it was not built to handle the volume it currently faces,” he said. “It also doesn’t help that the road has been neglected for so many years. Trucks constantly go down the road and contribute to the wear and tear. They go down West Broadway because they try to avoid the traffic on Peninsula [Boulevard].”

Weinreb acknowledged that the road looks better since the work, but noted the sidewalks and curbs are also in need of repairs. “I realize at this point that a full repavement of the road will take some time, but at the very least, the sidewalks should be fixed,” he said. “It’s tough to even walk down the road.”

There are also utility poles along the sidewalks that are damaged and being held together by other utility poles. Rosenthal said this is not a new issue. “I was talking with a fellow committee member who’s a lifelong Five Towns resident,” he said, “and he said the sidewalks haven’t been touched in almost 50 years. We’ve been pushing the county to fix them but nothing has come of it yet.”

Ford noted that she was trying to include sidewalk repairs in the plan. “While the sidewalks are technically the responsibility of the local homeowners, we are pushing to have them included in the plan,” she said. “Hopefully we can come to a compromise with the Department of Public Works to have the sidewalks repaired.”

Rosenthal said he thought there should be better communication among local officials and residents. “It seems like nobody at the county or town want to take responsibility for the road,” he said. “Multiple people need to sit down and figure out the plan on this.”

Ford said she understood residents’ frustrations, but remained focused on the project and was confident that a public forum would be held when the details of the project were confirmed. “I know that West Broadway is an eyesore for a lot of residents,” she said. “I know it’s frustrating to ask this, but we need more patience from residents on this.”

Have an opinion on the proposed West Broadway project? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.