Expressway will be Elevated to Mitigate Flooding and Improve Evacuation Route During Future Severe Storms, Improving Safety and Reliability of Vital Thoroughfare
Under Governor's Extreme Weather-Hardening Program, Work Set to Begin in 2019 -- Project to be Completed Six Years Earlier than Originally Planned
Project Will Include New Multi-Use Pedestrian Path, State-of-the-Art Drainage Systems, and Improved Traffic Signals and Turning Lanes; Upgrades will Enhance Access to Retail and Businesses along Central Corridor
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced plans to reconstruct and elevate a segment of the Nassau Expressway (Route 878) in Nassau County. The planned work will mitigate flooding and improve existing drainage, enhancing the safety and reliability of this busy stretch of road that carries 56,000 vehicles each day and serves as an Emergency Storm Evacuation Route for more than 400,000 people. The work, part of Governor Cuomo’s extreme weather-hardening program, will now begin in 2019 allowing the project to be completed six years earlier than originally scheduled. It will be the most comprehensive overhaul of the roadway to date.
“The Nassau Expressway serves as a vital lifeline for millions of New Yorkers – and we must ensure this roadway is prepared to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” Governor Cuomo said. “By starting work on this project in 2019, we will complete the work six years ahead of schedule, strengthening the resiliency and protection of this major artery and enhancing the safety and security of our state’s residents, visitors and travelers for years to come. These major upgrades will support the continued growth of our economy and keep all of Long Island moving forward.”
The Nassau Expressway is a critical transportation route that connects southwest Nassau County to Queens and serves as a direct link to JFK. Additionally, it is designated as an evacuation route by both Nassau County and New York City. Sections of the Expressway are subject to severe flooding during extreme weather events, requiring it to be shut down, creating a bottleneck in the evacuation route.
Building upon Complete Streets legislation signed in 2011, this project will include new pedestrian signals and a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists; new drainage systems to eliminate recurring flooding; and new traffic signals and turning lanes. These improvements will transform the current roadway, enhancing access to the numerous retail and industrial businesses along this central corridor. The addition of new and improved lanes and signals will significantly reduce congestion and improve roadway and pedestrian safety for the tens of thousands of motorists who use this road each day. The funding for this project was included as part of the Department of Transportation’s new $21.1 billion capital plan, the largest transportation plan ever approved in NYSDOT history.
“Safety is our top priority, and this work will help ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in the event of a severe weather emergency,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll. “In addition to improving safety, this project will also create more than 1,100 jobs and ensure better access to local businesses which is great news for the community.”
These major upgrades will support the continued growth of our economy and keep all of Long Island moving forward.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo directed his Office of Storm Recovery to study and assess storm damage, identify community needs and opportunities, and develop recovery and resiliency strategies. Raising this section of the Nassau Expressway was on the priority list for the NY Rising Community Rising Group for this area (Five Towns). In 2014, NYSDOT addressed some of the problems by repaving, performing surface repairs, and making repairs to the drainage system.
The project will be completed in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s Drivers First Initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists and ensures that disruptions are kept at a minimum for drivers at highway and bridge projects across the state.
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, "My constituents and visitors depend on Nassau Expressway to get them to their destinations on a daily basis. The highway is also a critical route during emergencies and should meet the highest standards of safety and reliability. I commend Governor Cuomo for his commitment to rebuilding New York's infrastructure and enhancing its resiliency. I look forward to working alongside him to see this project completed, as well as enhance safety and spur tourism along this corridor."
Congresswoman Kathleen Rice said, "Rehabilitating Route 878 is a major priority for our district, where extreme weather has become the new normal in recent years. This project is a critical step toward more resilient and reliable infrastructure. I'm excited it's set to start ahead of schedule, and I'll keep working with the Governor at the federal level to ensure we have the resources we need to protect our communities from future storms."
State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "The Nassau Expressway is a critical roadway for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and an emergency route for Nassau County residents during a natural disaster. Governor Cuomo's decision to move up the overhaul of NY878 and substantially increase funding to over $100 million will protect a vital piece of infrastructure -- and the New Yorkers who rely on it -- for decades to come. I am proud of our efforts with the South Shore community that led to this historic investment on behalf of Long Islanders. Finally Nassau County will have an expressway it can depend on."
Assemblymember Melissa Miller said, "Investing in our roadways is critical for ensuring the continued economic growth and the resiliency of our coastal communities. Governor Cuomo’s vision for bolstering infrastructure here on Long island supports that philosophy. This $150 million project to reconstruct Route 878 will help us align our roadway capacity with the demands of the 21st century while enhancing the safety for those who depend on this artery every day."
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano said, "With the complete overhaul of this section of Route 878, Long Islanders and visitors alike will see key improvements to one of the region's major thoroughfares. With increased safety and other essential upgrades, this area will be better prepared for future storm that comes our way. I applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership and dedication in rebuilding New York's vital infrastructure."
Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages said, "Route 878 is a vital corridor for the Long Island community that serves thousands of commuters and commercial businesses every day - but it is in critical need of an upgrade. Reconstructing this outdated portion of the expressway will not only reduce congestion, but mitigate flooding and enhance safety measures as we continue to face the threat of extreme weather. I thank Governor Cuomo and my partners in government at the state, federal and local level who helped move this project forward and I anticipate the continued growth it will bring for our community."