The Southold Town Board is tired of not being prepared to file competitive applications for grants to improve local roadways due to outdated studies.
So with two “transformative” improvement proposals targeting the intersection of Love Lane and Main Road in Mattituck and the T-shaped intersection of Route 25 and Main Road north of Greenport Village, town engineer Michael Collins and members of the Town Board agreed Tuesday that the town should complete studies for the area to make their grant applications as “shovel-ready” as possible.
Mr. Collins said the town missed out on a grant this year when officials learned of the available funds on short notice. Without completed and updated studies on the two intersection plans, the town wasn’t ready to put its best foot forward, he said.
“It becomes a waste of time,” Mr. Collins said at Tuesday morning’s Town Board work session. More than one grant may be available next year, he added.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town faces fierce competition for the grants from other municipalities across the state that have a faster mentality toward the applications. Rather than wait to win the grant first, the Town Board members said they would try to fund the remaining $22,000 to complete the study.
Mr. Russell said he hopes to have the town pay for half of the study, with the county and state paying for a quarter of the costs each. But he supports adding the full $22,000 to next year’s budget and offsetting the costs with money from the state and county.
Mr. Russell said he’d spoken to Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) about finding funding to finish the study.
“I don’t want to spend $22,000 until I get the commitment from them and that seems to be lagging a little bit,” he said. “I’ll continue meeting with them and see what they have to say.”
Mr. Collins said a study for the Greenport intersection was completed 17 years ago and needs to be updated.
That intersection was once home to a traffic circle, which was removed decades ago. The current intersection is a complicated weave of jurisdictions, with the town, state and county all claiming responsibility for certain sections of the crossroads.
The Greenport intersection was the focus of a discussion at the Village Board meeting Aug. 18. At the meeting, Trustee Doug Roberts suggested the village encourage local authorities to improve the intersection, saying the current roadways were unsafe.
Mr. Roberts said a public lobbying campaign by the Village Board could get the state, county and town to the table to hash out an agreement to improve the intersection.
“It can’t hurt us to write a letter if we all agree on this, and then, yeah, I’m good at being a squeaky wheel, so we’ll go squeak,” he said at the Aug. 18 meeting.
Village Trustee Mary Bess Phillips agreed, saying the gridlock caused by last summer’s Tall Ships festival could serve as proof that the intersection needs addressing.
“I think we have a lot of examples to show to them that Greenport needs to have some assistance from some place in keeping the traffic flow moving, and that’s not what’s happening,” she said.
At Tuesday’s work session meeting, Mr. Collins said he would have information on how much updating the Greenport study would cost.
“That’s two projects we’ll have on the shelf ready to go,” said Councilwoman Jill Doherty.
Photo: Southold Town is conducting a traffic study of the Love Lane and Main Road intersection in Mattituck. (Credit: Grant Parpan)