Portions of Route 107, a state road that stretches from Glen Cove to Jericho, will be closed for utility work by PSEG Long Island from July 14 to Aug. 30. The closures will make way for workers to replace electrical poles and wiring along the road as part of an Island-wide circuit-improvement project undertaken by the utility.
According to Jeremy Walsh, a spokesman for PSEG LI, all of the work will take place north of Northern Boulevard. “The section of this work taking place in the Glen Cove area will be done between Glen Cove Road and Hegemans Lane,” Walsh explained. “A separate section of the line will be storm-hardened along Route 107, between Chicken Valley Road and Glen Cove Road.”
Walsh added that traffic would be detoured around the area while work is being done. Closures will be in effect between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
As part of a three-year-long effort funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen Long Island’s electrical grid, the utility has been replacing poles and power lines in some of its service areas with newer, stronger equipment that can withstand strong winds, and installing automatic switching units that can minimize the number of customers affected by an outage. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the aim of improving more than 1,000 miles of vulnerable distribution lines.
Residents first became aware of the closures from a series of electronic signs along Route 107 indicating that drivers would eventually have to use a detour. Many took to Facebook to voice their concerns about roadway closures — particularly during the day — and claimed that it would worsen traffic on surrounding streets, such as Glen Cove Road. (see box, Page 8)
Glen Head resident Deborah Gordon, who uses the road as part of her commute, said that while her daily drive may become difficult when work begins, “We have no choice. Those poles are ready to break, but I’m going to try to avoid it as much as possible.”
Alerted to the concerns of his constituents, State Assemblyman Michael Montesano, a Republican from Glen Head, contacted PSEG LI and asked about the nature of the work as well as the road closures. A representative of the utility told him that its infrastructure along Route 107 needed the storm-hardening project.
“There’s a whole strip of poles down 107 for a good distance, and they will be replaced with newer poles and positioned differently to withstand winds,” Montesano said. “They will also be [replacing] the [current] wiring with more heavy-duty cabling.”
He also addressed locals’ concerns about work during the day, and the suggestions by some that it be done at night instead. “They’re working with super-high-voltage lines and they’re working in the trees,” he said of the utility workers, “so they need to be able to see what they’re doing.”
Addressing the possibility of an outage during the project, Montesano said, “There could be some short, intermittent interruptions of service whey they disconnect the old lines, but the utility said they would be notifying property owners in the affected areas ahead of time.”
Walsh said that the utility had done “considerable outreach” ahead of the project’s July 14 start date, including meeting with local government officials, building a project web page and drafting a letter to customers along the project route, which would be mailed shortly, he said.
“I wish they could do it during a time where it wouldn’t affect rush hour,” Gordon added, “but we need electric, and we need safe electric.”