Rocky road in East Islip
A section of the roadway that shows the uneven and dangerous surface that’s seen all along Montauk Highway in East Islip.

IB/Finnegan

Rocky road in East Islip

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
5/2/2019


Residents and business owners say National Grid has left Montauk Highway in the rough

 

EAST ISLIP—Anyone driving down Route 27A in the hamlet lately will probably notice a difference in the ride. The poorly paved condition with gaps and potholes makes that commute—even one in a truck—feel more like a buckboard traveling over primitive terrain. It’s the result of a gas main project that was recently completed by National Grid.

So whose responsibility is it to fix it? Since Montauk Highway is a NYS-owned thoroughfare, the paving is the responsibility of the state’s Department of Transportation. However, in this case, a representative from the DOT said that since National Grid created the problem, they are the ones who would have to fix it.

“Main Street in East Islip is a mess,” said resident Kathy Ewert. “This really needs to be addressed, pronto.”

Ewert noted the number of areas along the highway that are in need of attention, from Irish Lane east to Spur Drive and beyond. It is an area dotted by a number of freestanding businesses and strip malls that intersect with residential side streets.

Gary Teich, owner of Lee’s Auto Body on Main Street, is president of the East Islip Community Chamber of Commerce. He said National Grid representatives attended a chamber meeting before the work started and assured members that the road would be made whole again. “Now we find out they’re making a quilt out of Main Street,” he said, referring to the tar patches that filled the holes. “National Grid said it would be fixed. But they left some areas in very dangerous condition. This needs to be taken care of. Someone could get hurt.”

The East Islip Beautification Society is circulating a petition throughout the community that now has over 1,000 names. Dana Ehlich, president of the society, said, “Our [hamlet] is an absolute eyesore. They dug up the street and just patched it. If they tear up the street, they should repair it correctly.

 “The way they left it, someone could have died. If a motorcyclist came through there in the dark, they would have been thrown off.” She noted that no signage or markings were left to alert motorists of the dangers.

Teich concurred and said there should be a law that would ensure the work is done right, which involves milling and repaving. He noted that the community endured a similar situation on Carleton Avenue. That roadway was finally milled and repaved after their complaints were heard. 

This newspaper reached out to National Grid for information and a comment and did not get a response by press time.

However, Legis. Tom Cilmi has been in contact with the company after receiving many complaints from the community. He was told that repairs to roadwork damage made last year could not be repaired until the weather warmed up, which was something they started to do last week.  “But they left holes [in the pavement] over this past weekend and didn’t cone off the areas or warn drivers.  I told them they cannot let this go,” said Cilmi. 

National Grid responded to Cilmi with the following information:

All openings in the shoulder areas that are left 2” low (subbase repairs) will be coned off. Top layer of asphalt will be installed the next day.

All openings in the driving lanes will have subbase and top layer asphalt repaired the same day (no low spots in driving lanes)

Warning signs will remain in place after work hours to alert motorists. These will be warning signs only. Traffic control will be deconstructed after work has completed.