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Jul 26, 2016 4:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Officials Hear Preliminary Costs For Main Street Revitalization

Brian Murrell of H2M Engineering presents options for revitalization of Main Street in Westhampton Beach. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Jul 26, 2016 4:24 PM

Initial cost projections to renovate Main Street in Westhampton Beach came in higher than expected, and village officials say they will work out ways to lower the $4.4 million estimate.

At a work session last week, Brian Murrell of H2M Engineering in Melville explained that the current cost outline presented to the trustees really is a “wish list.” It includes all top-of-the-line options, including the burying of existing power lines, and covers the longest stretch of Main Street, from Potunk to Beach lanes.

In the next few weeks, Mr. Murrell, a senior engineer with H2M, will work to trim the figure and present alternative cost projections for a smaller section of Main Street, and save money in other areas, such as by installing less expensive light poles.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore said this week that while the initial price was higher than expected, she is confident village officials can find ways to reduce it. Last week she indicated that they want to get work started on the street repairs in September 2017—work that is expected to take all winter to complete.

“I have to say, it was definitely more money than I initially thought that it was going to be,” Ms. Moore said this week. “When we had first discussed it, originally we were looking at a smaller portion of Main Street, from Mill Road to Sunset Avenue, and then we decided to see how much it would be to do the entire road.”

Renovations to Main Street have been in the works since December 2014, when the board, led by Ms. Moore, opted to set aside $100,000 for the project. An additional $300,000 has since been added to that designated account, which the trustees are slowly building up to invest in fixing up the business district. Possible work includes repaving Main Street, relocating and redesigning crosswalks, extending curbs, reorganizing street parking, and realigning the dangerous Mill Road and Library Avenue intersection.

Earlier this month, Village Board members unanimously agreed to hire engineers to complete a Main Street corridor topographic and boundary survey that will, among other things, denote all property boundaries, mark all utility poles and lines, and locate drainage systems along the municipality’s main thoroughfare. The study, which will be drawn up by Fox Land Surveying of Westhampton Beach and take between four and six weeks to complete, will cost the village $24,000. The document is expected to help H2M engineers design the restored Main Street.

The projection presented last week by Mr. Murrell totals $4,430,150. The figure takes into account completely repaving Main Street between Potunk and Beach lanes, and officials’ desire to widen sidewalks. The board would also like to change the village’s diagonal parking spaces from a 30-degree angle to a 45-degree angle, a move that will add roughly 50 parking stalls to Main Street.

“The village contacted us about improvements to the Main Street area, in particular looking to increase sidewalk widths so there is potential for cafe seating and other opportunities like that,” Mr. Murrell said while explaining the reasoning behind the figure. “It will also help to ease pedestrian access while walking along the sidewalk that is a bit tight now.”

The projection actually estimates that the Main Street work will cost approximately $3.7 million. However, it adds an additional 20 percent, or $738,000, in contingency costs. The highest costs of the breakdown are typically associated with asphalt and concrete work, including $450,000 for a paver utility strip, $308,000 for asphalt binder and $107,000 to dispose of existing pavement.

The estimate also includes $350,000 to install empty conduit and pull boxes for buried electrical wires. In the past year, officials have said they hope to be able to remove the overhead wiring from Main Street by either burying the lines or moving them behind the stores. That would offer more sidewalk space for pedestrians while improving the aesthetics of the main thoroughfare. But burying power lines is expensive.

Ms. Moore explained this week that the burial costs would be greatly reduced because Main Street will already be torn up, but that the owners of buildings along the road would have to pay to convert to the underground wiring, a cost that could reach in the thousands of dollars for some. The mayor said village officials would see if they can help secure grants for the property owners.

“Right now, we just want to get a sense of how much it would cost,” she said. The village expects a report from PSEG in the next few weeks detailing how much the initiative would cost both the village and property owners.

Another key part of the breakdown is $75,000 to install a sewer conduit so that if the village opts to move forward with a sewer district in the future, the road will not have to be torn up again.

In February, the village hired H2M to evaluate how creating a sewer district in the village could affect nearby Moniebogue Canal and Moniebogue Bay. As part of the $71,000 contract, H2M will design a sewage treatment system for the village, including a sewage treatment facility, with a focus on the business district. The study should identify how a wastewater treatment facility would help improve the quality of both water bodies, information that the village will need in order to apply for grants to help cover the cost of the project, which is expected to run in the millions, according to Ms. Moore.

For now, the village sits in limbo awaiting final figures from PSEG for the Main Street improvements. Over the next several months, H2M will continue to tweak the plan and outline less expensive alternatives.

“We are still in the information-gathering stage,” Ms. Moore said. “We are still trying to chip away at some of these things.”

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$4,4 million for a small section of Main Street. That doesn't include the tens of millions "Moore" for the sewer system the Mayor and Trustees are working on. My estimates for WHB taxes have now doubled if Moore gets her way. Yes Main Street needs a spruce up that takes money but to add that to a sewer system will sink this little village in tax increases. Its nice to see all the homes and business's along the new roadway will need to pay additions to their tax increases for hook-ups to the new ...more
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jul 27, 16 7:41 AM
WHB is already a beautiful and quaint town. Realigning Mill and Library is unnecessary -- the locals know how to handle the intersection and the town should not try to accommodate commercial traffic. Burying the lines, widening sidewalks, and fixing the parking would be a nice touch. I agree with the first poster, however, if business and locals need to pay higher taxes for these "nice to have updates" then the town will experience huge losses. Taxes are already high enough for a small town, ...more
By 233 (1), Westhampton Beach on Jul 27, 16 9:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
When was the last time there was an accident at Mill and Main? It's a bad intersection yes but it's been like that for as long as I can remember.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 16 9:40 AM
Another waste of tax money. Good job Westhampton keep wasting our tax money. Those mac laptops for the high school and middle school are not necessary as well. Kids aren't able to write anymore nor do most of the teachers in the school use the laptops during there classes.
By hendrixexperience (6), East Quogue on Jul 27, 16 10:52 AM
Never heard of a estimate come in on price...
BEWARE
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jul 27, 16 11:22 AM
WHV ask H2M how many estimates have come in as estimated??????????
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jul 29, 16 7:25 PM