Route 111 continues to be a bumpy ride


The Town of Islip is home to over 300,000 people of every culture, ethnicity, religion, political opinion, and worldview imaginable. Yet, any one of those residents can agree that New York State Route 111—a major north/south road stemming off Montauk Highway in Islip hamlet—is in dilapidated condition and in need of serious repair.

The culprit? An immense number of potholes.

The process of going over a pothole can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, posing an obvious safety concern. Due to the violent jerking of driving into a pothole and back onto flat pavement, a vehicles’ suspension and alignment can become seriously damaged. Left unrepaired, potholes can also cause a tire to puncture, which can lead to a minor inconvenience of a flat tire, or a more significant problem of a blown-out tire.

NY 111 has been repaired. Yet, the potholes have been filled repeatedly, to the point that particularly impacted surfaces of the road—including the stretch between Sunrise Highway and Southern State Parkway—are described by Islip residents as “potholes on top of potholes.”

As Route 111 is a state route, the responsibility for its repair lies on the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), not the Town of Islip.

For those that frequently drive on the road and are subjected to the bumpy ride, there is bittersweet news. The NYSDOT is aware of the condition of NY 111 and is planning to completely resurface the road. Yet, the timeline for this project is not definitive, and it is unclear when the relief is coming.

On the NYSDOT website, Project 081703 proposes to restore the pavement riding surface of Route 111 to a smooth and distress-free condition by milling and resurfacing the existing pavement. The large project is expected to cover NY111 (Islip Avenue) from NY27A (Main Street) to Suffolk Avenue in the Town of Islip, NY111 (Wheeler Road), from Long Island Expressway South Service Road to NY454 (Veterans Memorial Highway) in the Town of Islip, and NY25 (Middle Country Road) from NY25A to Splish Splash Drive in the Town of Riverhead. The project is estimated to cost $11,000,000, funded at the federal and state level. According to the website, the current status of the project is in Future Development; construction is estimated to begin in fall 2026 and is estimated to be completed in fall 2027.

Yet, according to representatives from the NYSDOT, there is currently no definitive timeline for the resurfacing of Route 111

“The New York State Department of Transportation continually monitors conditions on State Route 111 and performs maintenance as needed,” said NYSDOT assistant director of communications, Glenn Blain. “NYSDOT is also progressing plans for a larger resurfacing project on State Route 111. The project is in the preliminary planning stage and a final timetable for implementation has not yet been established.”

“The website notes that it’s [Project 081703] in future development and a final timetable has not yet been established,” agreed Stephen P Canzoneri, NYSDOT public information officer, Region 10 (Long Island).

Additionally, according to a Town of Islip spokesperson, the NYSDOT sent the Town of Islip a letter stating they do not have a schedule to pave RTE 111 at this time.

The dilapidated condition of the road, especially where Route 111 overlaps Sunrise Highway to Southern State Parkway, has been a nuisance to both residents of Islip hamlet and people passing through.

Among frustrated drivers is Jean Siegler, who previously worked as a special education teacher at Islip Middle School, and after retiring, now substitute teaches in the Islip Union Free School District. Driving to work on Route 111, the condition of the road prompted her to begin contacting NYSDOT in spring of 2023, seeking answers as to when the road will be resurfaced. During an email exchange in October of last year, Siegler was told by a NYSDOT representative that the NYSDOT currently did not have a project in their Capital Program to resurface NYS Route 111, and that in the meantime, she can report any potholes by calling 1-800-POTHOLE.

“That is the whole surface, multiple filled potholes. That is why I have to drive with my right tire more on the right line, if not over it, or very close to the double yellows on the left,” explained Siegler. “Yes, it is a huge project to go from Montauk Highway all the way up to Suffolk Avenue. But can we at least do the bad parts right now? Do it in pieces.”

Siegler is not alone in her frustrations.

“I am a motorcycle rider. It is treacherous to come on and off through 111, to the point that we do not even go down that way because of it. All the potholed repairs make it worse, even for a car to go down there; when I drive through there, it vibrates my whole car,” shared Anthony Bonavise, a Brentwood resident who often drives to Islip hamlet. “I think it is too dangerous now, so I can’t imagine how dangerous it might be in another year or so.” 


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