Take a stroll on some new sidewalks soon in Riverhead

A downtown sidewalk on East Main Street in need of repair. The state Department of Transportation is expected to start repairing and replacing the sidewalks this spring. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Before long, you’ll be able to take a stroll downtown without tripping over uneven sidewalks.

The highly anticipated downtown Riverhead sidewalk repairs will begin this spring and should be completed before the end of the year, according to the state Department of Transportation. 

The DOT has awarded a $2.17 million contract to New York Paving Inc. to replace or reconstruct sidewalks on West and East Main Streets between Griffing Avenue and Union Avenue, said DOT spokesperson Eileen Peters.

It’s unclear when the state last repaired the sidewalks but local business owners and officials have been complaining about them for years.

“There are places where you can see through the sidewalk,” said Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, indicating that drainage pipes are sometimes visible.

The work will affect sidewalks on both sides of state-owned Route 25, Ms. Peters said. The state will either repair or replace sidewalks, she said, depending on their condition. The DOT will also build new sidewalks on the north side of Route 25 between Griffing Avenue and Mill Road wherever there are gaps.

The town received $1.2 million in federal grants in 2005 to repair downtown sidewalks but the Town Board decided in 2007 to save money by waiting for the state to complete the work.

The state, however, did not have the project in its sights then — and said at the time that sidewalk work wouldn’t begin until 2014.

The town was able to retain the 2005 grant money and the state agreed to do the job this year.

“As part of the project we are also going to be working with the town to trim the trees to help with visibility,” Ms. Peters said.

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