Early in 2020, Suffolk County was ready to ease residents’ concerns about the northwestern section of Nicolls Road.
Then, the pandemic hit. Roadwork that county officials had been planning for several years and projected would be completed by the end of 2020 was put on hold due to COVID-19. A recurrent issue for travelers on Nicolls Road has been drivers weaving quickly to the left lane when coming from eastbound Route 25A to make a left onto Lower Sheep Pasture Road while others are making a left onto Nicolls from Route 25A driving south.
Now the work is beginning.
At a February 2020 Three Village Civic Association meeting, William Hillman, Suffolk County Department of Public Works chief engineer, said it would be “a relatively simple project.” The road work will include removing the slip ramp on Route 25A approaching Nicolls and bringing a right-turn lane up to the signal. The only time drivers in the right-turn lane will stop is when those making a left from the westbound side of Route 25A have the green arrow.
According to a recent letter to residents from the county Department of Public Works, the project will also consist of installation of drainage, curb, sidewalk, guide rail, milling, asphalt resurfacing, traffic signal work, pavement striping and grass seeding.
County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said, in a recent phone interview, it was good to hear that the work will begin as it will make the roadway safer for drivers and pedestrians.
“It’s always hard to live through infrastructure improvements, but ultimately it’ll make it safer there,” she said.
Hahn said the county doesn’t anticipate any problems with the new light at the turning lane as those approaching from the west and turning right will have the green most of the time.
“Every other moment in that lane you should be able to turn right without a problem,” she said.
Hahn said the sidewalk to be added on the west side of the road, combined with pedestrians no longer having to cross the wide slip ramp, will diminish dangerous conditions. The sidewalk on the west side of Nicolls will run from the North entrance of Stony Brook University to Route 25A. Hahn added currently it is safer to cross at Lower Sheep Pasture than at the northwest corner of the intersection.
According to county officials, crews have begun preliminary work, and the project should be completed by the end of the summer. Hahn added the estimated project cost is $1.2 million.