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New ‘Middle Road’ signage on Route 48 causes confusion

Suffolk County Route 48, commonly known as the North Road, was added to the county road system in 1930. The artery, which runs from Sound Avenue in Mattituck to Route 25 in Greenport, was originally called CR 27. It was renumbered in 1988 to avoid confusion with NY Route 27, which runs along the south shore Long Island. 

The differences in names took on a new wrinkle this summer when signs started to appear calling it Middle Road.

“Locally, its known as the North Road, the locals call it that,” said county Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue). “So it was odd when all the Middle Road signs started going up.”

Southold Town Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando agreed. He said that when the county started placing “Middle Road” signs along Route 48 in July, he received several phone calls from confused residents. “People were calling us, like, ‘That’s not my road,’ ” Mr. Orlando said. 

Mr. Krupski said he also received multiple complaints about the road signs. Shortly thereafter, he said, he spoke with the Suffolk County Department of Public Works. 

“They said that on all the old Suffolk County documents, it’s always been referred to as Middle Road,” Mr. Krupski said.

He said the new street signs are part of a long-term project that started two years ago, which involved paving the road and introducing crosswalks in certain areas. 

“The road was in really bad shape for two winters, so there was a lot of pressure to fix it,” he said. “But this is a massive project, there’s a lot of planning — they can’t just make changes.” 

Because the construction is federally funded, Mr. Krupski said, the team of engineers involved is required to follow federal guidelines, which he said includes adding the new signs. They now say Middle Road. 

Mr. Orlando said the new road signs are related to the New York State property tax map, an assessment of all the property lots in Suffolk County. On that map, County Route 48 is referred to only as Middle Road.

“It’s basically a bible,” he said. “The engineer who designed that project used the state property tax map.” 

Mr. Krupski said he plans to request that the Department of Public Works remove the Middle Road signs to avoid future confusion. 

“I think that’s a very reasonable request to make to Public Works,” Mr. Krupski said. 

Mr. Orlando said that regardless of what it’s called — Middle Road, North Road, County Route 48 — the Town of Southold isn’t making any major road modifications, except to keep it in good condition. 

“It’s the same thing as saying the Long Island Expressway is Route 495,” he said. “They’re just one in the same.”

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Photo caption: The “Middle Road” sign on Route 48 in Mattituck (Cyndi Murray photo)