County Executive Steve Levy said Thursday the Route 58 widening project will be complete by June 10.
The widening of Route 58 will be completely done by June 10, County Executive Steve Levy declared in a press conference Thursday, with only some road paving and striping left to be completed.
“This has been a long time coming,” Mr. Levy said.
The actual expansion of the road into five lanes will be completed by Friday, Mr. Levy announced at the event, held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Route 58.
The road striping and paving will be done by June 10, marking the completion of the entire job, which started last fall, Mr. Levy said.
“For many years, there was a great deal of gridlock on this road because of the bottlenecks,” he said. “It would go from two lanes into one lane back into two lanes, back into one lane, into a traffic circle. The result was a major traffic mess.
“The beauty of this project is that it will have a continuous two-lane flow in each direction, and a middle turning lane.
“The project, which cost $8 million, is on time and on budget, and those are sweet words to hear when you are in government.”
“We’ve been talking about widening Route 58 for 20 years,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said. Every time, he said, the issue of whether to replace the Roanoke Avenue traffic circle with a traffic light came up and would bog down the project.
The traffic circle remained, but is now a two-lane roundabout.
The Route 58 project was originally a much larger plan that was expected to cost about $70 million and would have needed federal funds. That project, which officials later agreed was not likely to get that much federal money, was more expensive because it called for wider lanes, which required the acquisition of additional property.
Mr. Levy said the project that was done cost only $8 million because it used existing county right-of-way for the expansion, and only widened the lanes to 11 feet instead of the originally planned 13 feet.
The change comes just before Memorial Day and just as three more large projects are looking to be built on the western part of Route 58, Mr. Levy said. These plans include Walmart, which wants to build a new store just west of Applebees; Lowe’s, which is being planned for the old Suffolk Life site; and Costco, which is proposed for a large shopping center on the old Hazeltine property, across from Riverhead Raceway.
Mr. Levy said the county legislature on Tuesday voted to override a DPW rejection of a proposed new stop light at the Lowe’s project, and he signed the override into law. Lowe’s had said it would not build the Riverhead store unless it got a new light where the front entrance to the Suffolk Life property is.