MTA’s railroad maintenance leading to unannounced road closures

MTA police vehicle blocks Alvah’s Lane in Cutchogue Tuesday. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Southold Town Board members are questioning the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s handling of railroad track maintenance in Southold, which has caused unexpected road closures.

Councilman Bill Ruland voiced concern Tuesday over the effect road closures have on commuting, school bus routes and response time of emergency vehicles.

“I can’t believe they operate like this,” he said. “It affects people’s life.”

Since the maintenance began earlier this year, MTA police vehicles have been blocking roads near the tracks, detouring traffic without notifying officials in Town Hall, Mr. Ruland said. While the highway department has been issuing MTA permits to excavate the road, Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando said the state provided short notice about when and where the closings would take place. Similarly, the town’s police department has also received short notice about the detours, Mr. Ruland said.

“I understand they have to close the road to do the maintenance to the crossing,” Mr. Ruland said. “But, if they are going to be closing the road day and night they should tell residents.”

The Town Board requested that the chief of police and highway superintendent help develop a policy for notifying town officials and residents when they learn of the closures. The Town Board will also look into the MTA protocol for informing municipalities about the detours.

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