Lake Avenue Work Accelerated Due to Pandemic

Lake Avenue Work Accelerated Due to Pandemic

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A drone view of Lake Avenue. Photo from Town of Smithtown

For St. James residents, navigating Lake Avenue this summer has been a bit tricky due to road closures as the revitalization of the thoroughfare has been underway the last
few months.

Currently, drivers along Lake Avenue will find a road closure by the railroad station, above. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Despite the road closures, much of the work along the roadway has been completed before schedule due to many more staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this summer, the Town of Smithtown announced that the Lake Avenue Revitalization Project was about eight to nine months ahead of schedule.

In 2018, a chunk of the town’s capital budget was assigned to the St. James downtown business district improvements, with $4.6 million in bonds set aside for the revitalization of Lake Avenue, of which more than $2 million was to be used to fund water main replacement.

At the end of July, work on the sewer line and water main was nearly completed but temporarily stalled at the intersection of Lake and Railroad avenues as the town waited for permit approval from the MTA to work on the section that is underneath the railroad tracks. Smithtown spokesperson Nicole Garguilo said that the MTA has approved the work, and the sewer line and water main installation are estimated to be completed before Labor Day, Sept. 7.

The sewer line currently will not be hooked up, even though if approved by the township, the proposed Gyrodyne Sewer Treatment Plant, on the Flowerfield property on Route 25A, could possibly be connected to the new sewer lines in St. James.

Parts of the avenue saw the completion of new sidewalks this year, above. Photo from Paul Rosano/Facebook page Voices of St. James

Additional work along the avenue has included decorative crosswalks, new drainage systems, sidewalks and concrete curb work. Lake Avenue is also being repaved and concrete had to be dug out in some spots before new gravel and asphalt were put down. The paving job is projected to be completed north of the railroad tracks before the new school year begins. As for the rest of Lake, repavement will be conducted block by block and should be done by October.

Once the roadwork is completed, Victorian ornamental street signage will be added and utility companies will remove old poles and replace them with new ones.

Garguilo said once the town receives approval from Suffolk County for the intergovernmental purchase of the former Irish Viking bar, work can begin on a new park and off-the-street parking lot at the location.

The town has recognized the headaches the construction has caused, but the administration is excited about the upcoming completion. Garguilo said the value the work gives back to the community as well as businesses in the near future will be “crystal clear.”

“All will be forgiven when people see the finished project,” Garguilo said.