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Jun 9, 2010 9:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Work at Hampton Bays corner inches toward completion

Jun 9, 2010 9:57 AM

HAMPTON BAYS—The intersection of Montauk Highway and Route 24 has been marked with orange cones and yellow tape since last fall. But officials say the long-awaited completion of a road-widening and repaving project there will come in the next couple of weeks, after months of weather-related delays.

The Richmond Company of Massachusetts began working on the intersection last fall, according to David Armanetti, the company’s director of real estate development. The company agreed to renovate the corner as part of a deal with Southampton Town that allowed the firm to build the nearby Stop & Shop in 2008. The supermarket opened its doors in April 2009.

Workers are adding a second eastbound turning lane for drivers traveling southbound on Route 24, according to Mr. Armanetti. In order to make room, they have removed a grassy median island that once existed near the northwestern corner, he said.

The additional lane will help curtail congestion-related accidents, according to Southampton Town Transportation and Traffic Safety Director Tom Neely.

“That has been a very difficult intersection,” he said. “There have been a lot of accidents with people trying to kind of cram in.”

The Richmond Company is also extending a westbound lane on Montauk Highway, so that drivers turning off Route 24 will not have to merge left onto Montauk Highway and then merge right into the turning lane of the Macy’s shopping center, Mr. Armanetti said. Instead, once the small stretch of Montauk Highway is widened and the lane is added, drivers seeking to enter the shopping center will be able to stay right after exiting the intersection.

Workers will also be activating a new traffic signal at the intersection, which sits directly in front of the Hampton Bays Diner, Mr. Armanetti said. He said the total cost of the work at the intersection, which is being picked up by his firm, may fall between $400,000 and $500,000.

The Richmond Company had hoped to finish the work by late December, but heavy snowfall throughout the winter put the renovations on hold, Mr. Armanetti said. He said that he has also run into snags trying to coordinate work with the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, which is undergoing its own repaving project on Montauk Highway.

Suffolk County is waiting for the Richmond Company to complete its road-widening project so it can finish the Montauk Highway repaving project it began last year, according to Suffolk County Department of Public Works Chief Engineer William Hillman. Last year, the county repaved Montauk Highway from the corner of Old Country Road in East Quogue to the Long Island Rail Road bridge near the corner of West Tiana Road in Hampton Bays, Mr. Hillman said. It has been waiting to finish the final leg of the project, which will repave the road for about 500 feet past the corner of Route 24.

“The county has been standing ready to go for months,” Mr. Hillman said. The final leg of that part of repaving project will cost an estimated $300,000, he said.

As it stands, the Richmond Company’s portion of the work should be done by mid-June, Mr. Armanetti said. County workers will finish their leg of the project about two weeks later, officials said. The new traffic light cannot be activated until after the county finishes repaving the intersection, Mr. Armanetti said.

Both Montauk Highway and Route 24 will remain open throughout the repaving work, Mr. Hillman noted.

Susan von Freddi, president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, said the intersection has become a persistent eyesore over the prolonged construction process, noting that she is frustrated that it wasn’t finished by Memorial Day weekend. Her organization tends to the plants that adorn the median islands.

“It’s a disaster down there,” she said. “A total disaster.”

Mr. Armanetti said that his company will replace shrubs that were lost during the renovation, as well as a number of sprinklers that were damaged.

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What a great time to add congestion and chaos at an extremely busy intersection.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 9, 10 6:07 PM
Weather related delays? I don't think so. Looks like complete incompetence just like the morons that paved Montauk Highway in Southampton last year, or was it the year before? It should have been done when the Stop and Shop was being built not so long after and not in the summer time. Any fines for dragging this out? Oh well, it really doesn't matter since HB has turned into a dump the last few years anyway. Garbage, shuttered buildings, illegal immigrants, potholes, drugs, knifings, prostitution, ...more
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jun 11, 10 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
It was nice to see the intersection job completed when I was in the hamlet this weekend. My happiness quickly turned to sorrow when I saw more road construction just a few feet west of the completed project. Looks like more roadwork on one of the busiest routes on the East End. I hope this project is completed in a timely manner as parts of Montauk Highway do not have any traffic lanes marked which may be confusing to motorists unfamiliar with the area. I just hope the work is satisfactory and not ...more
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Jun 14, 10 11:47 AM
and to make it worse they didnt even do a good job with the paving...potholes will be back in a few months. And the state will not hold the contractors responsible for the terrible job they did another waste of our tax dollars!!!!!
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 14, 10 5:21 PM