Last year, Route 58 from the Long Island Expressway terminus to Ostrander Avenue was widened to four lanes, and earlier this year a debate ensued about whether to use mitigation money from a proposed Route 58 Costco to extend the widening further east.
While the county Legislature ultimately rejected using the $1.9 million related to the proposed Costco site, the work is now being done and is expected to be completed shortly, officials said.
The county Department of Public Works is now widening Route 58 from Ostrander Avenue east to the intersection with Route 25 and Doctors Path, according to county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who represents Riverhead and had proposed using the Costco money for the project.
The job entails building two eastbound travel lanes from Ostrander to Doctors Path but leaving only one westbound travel lane. New sideways and curbs also are being constructed on the south side of the road, Mr. Romaine said.
“This came about because I put a lot of pressure on the administration to do this,” he said, adding he would ultimately like to see the road widened to two eastbound and two westbound lanes, along with a center turning lane, all the way to Route 105. The road becomes a state road east of Doctors Path.
“Route 58 is a major transportation corridor for the North Fork,” Mr. Romaine said in an interview. “If it gets jammed, people are going to look for alternative roads that are not designed to handle this kind of traffic.”
The Legislature in February voted to use $1.9 million in impact mitigation fees from the developer of the Costco shopping center to pay for extending the Route 58 widening. But County Executive Steve Levy vetoed that bill, saying the money should instead be used to pay down debt from the widening project completed in 2010.
In April, the full Legislature, in a second vote on the issue, opted to use the $1.9 million to pay down the debt.
Mr. Romaine said he agreed to vote yes on the second resolution because he was told the county had money left over from the initial widening project, which came in at a lower cost than expected.
The project will cost about $1.7 million and is expected to be completed in mid-August, according to Jim Peterman, DPW’s chief deputy commissioner. He said the money for this job came from savings left over from last year’s road widening which came in at a lower price than budgeted for. That job was expected to cost about $12.5 million, and came in at around $10.2 million, he said.
The county will resurface and restripe the road, and will eliminate the center lane in some areas but will retain where it is required. He said there are no plans currently to make this stretch of road two lanes westbound.
“This work, to be finished in August, will complete one of the most ambitious road construction efforts of our administration,” Mr. Levv said.
The as-yet unbuilt Costco development is part of a proposed shopping center, Shops at Riverhead, on the former Hazeltine property, which would include other stores as well. The site is located on the north side of Route 58, across from Riverhead Raceway and between Riverhead Auto Mall and Out East Family Fun.
The Town Board in 2010 voted to allow Shops at Riverhead to sell gasoline at the Costco site, but the applicant, Connecticut-based Developers Realty Corporation, has yet to submit a revised site plan to incorporate the gas pumps, for the entire development. The project is still undergoing an environmental impact study, according to town planning director Rick Hanley.