At the Floral Park Village Board of Trustees meeting on April 20, Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki reported that over the last two weeks residents may have observed the Water Authority of Western Nassau working on Jericho Turnpike, having completed countless utility markouts in neon pink spray paint on and around the vicinity of the Turnpike. During this period, some residents even experienced a loss of water. Homes located on Hinsdale, Holland, Hawthorne and Emerson avenues between Lowell Avenue and Jericho Turnpike lost either water pressure or the use of water completely on Thursday, April 8, between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon. On Monday, April 19, the same homes, with the exception of those located on Emerson Avenue, once again experienced a similar inconvenience during the morning hours. While residents were notified with flyers two days in advance that emergency work was the cause of the inconvenience, the duration and nature of the work suggested that a larger project was at hand.
With the assistance of Susan Kerner, the village board’s assistant and the Office of Senator Craig Johnson, Trustee Tomecki discovered that the Water Authority’s work was prompted by a recent New York State Department of Transportation decision to reinstate the highly anticipated project to rehabilitate Jericho Turnpike from the border of Queens County to Glen Cove Road in Mineola. As many residents may recall, in September of 2008, the Floral Park Village Board, along with several of its civic association leaders, participated in a public hearing at New Hyde Park High School in support of a long overdue project to improve safety conditions, reduce traffic congestion and rehabilitate pavement conditions on Jericho Turnpike. A few months later, however, the village received word that due to New York State’s deteriorating financial situation, the project was temporarily suspended and that, once again, a facelift for Jericho Turnpike would be delayed. Nevertheless, thanks to Senator Johnson, $900,000 of funding has been restored to conduct the engineering study needed to jumpstart the project, which the state now reports is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2012.
In preparation for the rehabilitation, underground surveyors employed by the Water Authority tested all of the area’s valves, valve boxes, manholes and hydrants, repairing and replacing any parts that were inoperable. Once re-paving occurs, utilities are prevented for up to five years from opening up a street to gain access to their equipment. The proactive work of the Water Authority over the past two weeks helps to ensure that they will not have an immediate need to tear into Jericho Turnpike once the project is completed.
As the trustee liaison and lifelong resident of the North End of Floral Park, Trustee Tomecki looks forward to keeping residents informed in the months ahead about the status of the project to finally rehabilitate Jericho Turnpike.