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Nov 15, 2011 3:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

County Road 31 Reopens To Traffic As Work Continues On New Traffic Circle

Nov 16, 2011 1:24 PM

Motorists dealing with time-consuming detours for the past month in Flanders, where a new traffic circle is being installed, breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday when the Suffolk County Department of Public Works reopened a section of Old Riverhead Road to traffic.

The stretch of Old Riverhead Road, also known as County Road 31, between Sunrise Highway and the traffic circle had been closed for past month during construction. In turn, however, crews have closed an estimated 300-yard section of County Road 104, commonly called Quogue-Riverhead Road, in both directions from the new traffic circle south toward Quogue.

As a result of the latest closure, those motorists traveling from Quogue and other points east toward Riverhead are now being detoured to Sunrise Highway and the Old Riverhead Road exit. Gil Anderson, Suffolk County’s DPW commissioner, said Wednesday that the work on County Road 104 is expected to be completed within a week, meaning the road should be reopened soon.

The traffic circle itself, a $1.1 million project on which ground was broken in August, is still expected to be finished by the end of December, according to project manager Greg Ferraro. His company, Pratt Brothers Inc. of Bay Shore, was contracted by the county earlier this year to complete the project.

“We hope to have it done before the year is out, weather permitting,” Mr. Ferraro said on Tuesday.

He added that work has been moving along at a swift pace, despite the fact that the County Road 31 closure lasted twice as long as anticipated. “We’re way ahead of schedule,” Mr. Ferraro said.

County officials originally estimated that section of Old Riverhead Road would be closed for only two weeks when they blocked it off on October 12, more than a month ago.

The county decided to install a traffic circle at the intersection to help reduce the number of high-speed car accidents that have occurred there in recent years, according to Mr. Ferraro. He also noted that studies have revealed that it would be too costly to run electrical lines to the intersection and install a traffic light there.

Twenty-two car accidents—including 10 with injuries—were reported at the intersection between 2005 and 2008, according to Southampton Town Police records. Traffic studies conducted at the intersection have indicated that the two roads have between 20 and 24 potential spots that car accidents are likely to occur—a high figure, according to Town Police.

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will see how people handle this unfamiliar circle at night when its pitch black and are blinded by other car lights trying to navigate. Because they did not want to spend a few more extra bucks to bring power down for street lights there will probably be more accidents then before. Or instead of installing sidewalks and crosswalks around the circle which will never be used, take that money and put the proper lighting like most busy circles or intersections on long island.
By msport1400 (3), flanders on Nov 16, 11 2:59 PM
i agree, i travel that section at night and it is very dangerous travling thru that area during construction now they change traffic patterns then with the new traffic circle there there will many more accidents with out lighting that area.
By tinroads@optonline.net (1), East Quogue on Nov 17, 11 12:25 PM
Lights? It’s not too late. Go solar! There are plenty of industrial / commercial products available. I agree, this new circle needs to be well illuminated at night. People fly up and down that road. It must be well marked or the best of intentions will lead to tragedy.
By loxman (20), Remsenburg on Nov 17, 11 5:36 PM