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Greenport Village approves funds for ferry queue redesign

The Village of Greenport approved an additional $33,000 to cover unanticipated costs for plans leading up to the redesign of the North Fork Ferry Terminal Access Area last Thursday.

Engineering group L.K. McLean Associates, P.C. requested the funds to complete preliminary and final designs for the ferry queue through a letter sent to Village Administrator Paul Pallas in January. The letter stated that “there have been several unanticipated issues that have resulted in the need for additional work.” 

“Our budget for the Preliminary Design and the DAD has long been expended. In an effort to minimize additional money to the Village, I have provided a significant amount of hours on the project without billing the Village,” wrote Robert Steele, executive vice president. “However, since this effort has become too significant, I am now requesting additional money for some of the remaining tasks that have been impacted by the unanticipated issues on the project.”

The draft needs to be reformatted to match new changes in state format requirements; the two ferry ramps were not included in the original proposal; the engineers had previously been unaware that Third Street was a state road and would require a work permit; and the group has designed eight build alternatives, rather than just one, to satisfy all stakeholders.

L.K. McLean Associates, P.C. released five alternative designs for the ferry queue redesign rerouting North Ferry traffic in Greenport in 2020. The village indicated plans to authorize up to $3.2 million in bonding to solve traffic congestion near the North Ferry dock and adjacent roads such as Wiggins and Third streets in 2019, with grants to offset costs.

Mr. Pallas said the village has not yet bonded any funds and emphasized that the project is still in the preliminary design phase. The project, and consequently grant funding, will be rolled out in phases. The whole project is tentatively slated for a potential total of $2.27 million in federal funds.

Before the vote, Greenport resident William Swiskey asserted that the state does not own Wiggins or Third streets and the engineers shouldn’t need money for a Department of Transportation work permit.

“Wiggins Street from Sixth Street down to Third Street is considered State Route 114,” Mayor George Hubbard Jr. responded. The state paid to take down trees on those streets, he said.

Village attorney Joseph Prokop said the engineers have claimed they’ve verified state ownership of the road and in either case, the $4,500 should be paid when permits are required to be filed. “It’s acknowledged that Third Street is a state highway,” he said. “My recommendation is that the change order be approved.”

A spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation confirmed that Third Street is designated as State Route 114 between the ferry terminal and State Route 25. Although the road is owned and maintained by the Village of Greenport, a highway work permit is needed for any work that will impact a NYSDOT asset or highway, the spokesperson said.