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Oct 8, 2019 1:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Main Street Project Moving Forward

Victor Canseco of Sandpebble Project Management giving the Main Street project update presentation. RACHEL VALDESPINO
Oct 8, 2019 2:28 PM

The Main Street project that has been underway in Westhampton Beach has begun its second month.

Concerned residents and shop owners gathered at the Westhampton Beach Village Hall Thursday night at 5 p.m. for a Village Board meeting that featured an update on the project.

The update presentation was given by Victor Canseco of Sandpebble Project Management, which is overseeing the project. Sandpebble is currently working on removing spongy soil found beneath the old asphalt on Main Street and replacing it with recycled concrete so it can be repaved.

“One of the first things we did was remove all the asphalt with a milling machine, which probably 95 percent of that step is completed. The next step was to remove the concrete that was under the asphalt. There were some sections of the street that had some spongy soil, which will have to be removed,” Mr. Canseco said.

The removal of the road is slated to be completed in January, but Mr. Canseco said it might be finished sometime in December.

“Right now, we’re still removing some bad soil, and we’re pretty much running on schedule for completion on the road part sometime in the month of January. We are trying to move that back into December, but we still have to work out some scheduling issues with the road contractors,” he said.

A gas leak on Wednesday, October 2, disrupted the village for a day, but all ended well. The Westhampton Beach Fire Department responded to the leak at approximately 9:40 a.m. that morning. Businesses near the leak by Sunset Avenue and west of the Performing Arts Center were evacuated, including the Bright Beginnings Preschool. The leak was fixed and everyone reentered the affected buildings by 12:20 p.m.

The Main Street project was conceived of about three years ago. It all began with issues with the storm drains that were close to 100 years old, which were compromised by tree roots and were cracking.

It has grown to include an entire redesign of the downtown business district.

“This $11 million project includes traffic calming features including two traffic circles at either end of the street, curb extensions and a raised cross walk; water quality improvement features including permeable pavers as well as two hydrodynamic separators that filter debris from the stormwater before it makes it way to the canal; new LED street lighting; new curbs and sidewalks; the replacement of all storm pipes and drainage, and the undergrounding of all utilities so no more overhead wires,” Village Mayor Maria Moore noted at the meeting.

“We’re very pleased with the progress so far,” she added. “This week, they’ll be working on installing the dry sewer main that crosses from Sunset Avenue to Moniebogue Lane, and Sandpebble expects to be putting in curbing next week.”

Meanwhile, shop owners continued to voice concerns about the welfare of their businesses amidst all the construction.

“We need more signs and billboards,” Shock owner Elyse Richman said. “At every construction site, it says ‘road closed’, we need something that says stores are open, sidewalks are open, so that people know that they can still shop. The signs that are already there are not clear enough, it needs to say store parking.”

A lack of signage and sheer amount of accessibility appear to be the cornerstone concerns of the village. Many feel as if patrons won’t cross the street if the crosswalks are not nearby; a major issue for Main Street.

“I think they’re doing the best they can, with all of the work they’re doing,” said Westhampton Beach resident Harvey Drucker. “You can’t help [inconveniences such as parking and crosswalks] when there’s construction. That’s progress. It’s temporary, but the net result is very positive and long term.”

Mr. Drucker has been within the village community for nearly four decades. He owns a series of office spaces near Main Street and offered one of his vacant offices for the Sandpebble Project Management team to utilize.

“I think it’s probably going to be one of the most beautiful Main Streets in all of the Hamptons,” he added.

Locals and visitors are encouraged to continue patronizing the local vendors of the village.

“We currently have three crosswalks going from one side of Main Street to the other,” Ms. Moore said. “We want to get the message out that Main Street is open for business; the shops, the restaurants, the performing arts center are all continuing to operate.”

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