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Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro

By Heidi Sutton

When my daughter was little, one of her favorite places to go was the Town of Brookhaven’s Holtsville Ecology Site Animal Preserve or “The Little Zoo” as we liked to call it. She would run through the open gates to say hi to the Nubian goats with their long floppy ears as I retrieved feed from the 25-cent vending machine. She would marvel at the buffalo, see if any birds were in the large birdhouses, and then off to see the ducks, rabbits, fox and Rascal the coatimundi. A quick stop to see the eagles and hawks and then down the inviting path (overflowing with beautiful flowers grown in the attached greenhouse) to Honey and Pooh Bear’s enclosure, the preserve’s resident black bears. 

Sometimes we would stay for an hour, sometimes I would pack a lunch and we would head over to the picnic tables by the playground and grab an ice cream from the ice cream truck waiting in the parking lot. Before we left, we always had to head over to the koi pond behind the greenhouse to see the turtles. It was a ritual many town residents have enjoyed spring through fall since the park opened in 1979. Best of all, it was always free, except the ice cream! It is a special place.

Last March the animal preserve was closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, briefly reopened in September but then shut its doors again. Now there is a spring awakening. Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro recently announced that the preserve will partially reopen to the public, albeit with a few changes, on Saturday, May 1. 

The preserve will be open Thursday through Monday with limited spring hours from May 1 to 28; reservations can be made every 15 minutes from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, on May 29, reservations will expand from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Only Town of Brookhaven residents with reservations and proof of residency will be permitted to enter the animal preserve. Reservations to book a visit must be made online at www.BrookhavenNY.gov/Ecology.

“Until we see exactly what the demand is, we’re going to limit admission to only Brookhaven Town residents. We’re hoping by the summer to have the entire facility back open as it was before and just using normal social distancing protocols,” said Superintendent Losquadro during a tour on April 9.

There has been a silver lining, however. While the preserve remained closed, the town took the opportunity to fix up and enhance the animal enclosures. “We really embarked on some infrastructure improvement projects that otherwise would’ve been very difficult for us,” said Losquadro. Retaining walls, gates and railings have been rebuilt, metal fencing has been installed, new concrete has been poured, the eagle house has received a complete makeover, and the large bird cages have been replaced. 

The animal preserve has also continued to be the recipient of several Eagle Scout projects, including new houses for the goats and ducks, hutches for the rabbits and enrichment projects by the Boys and Girl Scouts to keep the animals busy and active during the day. 

“We  were very fortunate throughout this entire process that we’ve been able to continue to make improvements and prepare for reopening the facility for our residents,” said Losquadro.

While Pooh Bear and Rascal have passed away from old age, over 100 injured or non-releasable wild animals and farm animals call the preserve home including a new coatimundi named Lulu, Phantom the arctic fox and two hybrid wolves, Drax and Thanos. All have a story. Many, including the coatamundi, were kept as pets illegally and were confiscated by the SPCA, the DEC, etc.; some were hit by cars and were not able to be released back into the wild. But for all, the Ecology Center is a sanctuary with a caring staff led by director April Perry who is excited to reopen the preserve. 

“It’s going to be a soft opening,” said Perry who explained that when the facility reopens May 1, only a portion will be accessible, from the main entrance up to the eagle exhibit. Animals available for viewing at this time include the Arctic fox, alpaca, bald eagle, bobcat, Boer goats, buffalo, coatimundi, hybrid fox, the hybrid wolves, llama, mini pigs, nubian goats, pine martin, prairie dogs, rabbits, red fox, red tail hawk, and skunk.

Although the animal preserve is always free, Perry would like to remind people that a donation box is situated at the entrance. “When people donate, that money goes directly to feeding the animals and vet care,” she said. 

“Unfortunately (because of the pandemic) those efforts had slowed down a bit and the town actually absorbed all of that cost to make sure that we weren’t lacking for care of the animals or feed. Now all those donations go directly to offset those costs,” added Losquadro.

“I don’t think we would have survived without the town’s help,” said Perry. “I have been here 34 years and I am so impressed how much Dan has put into the Ecology Site and how much we are growing and moving forward. It makes my heart happy. This place means a lot to me — it’s like my second home.”

Perry also attributes the preserve’s continuing success to her staff. “I have incredible employees — they care. They are here seven days a week making sure the animals have water, have feed, that they are clean and safe and everyone steps up to the plate and they do it.”

COVID-19 safety protocols will be strictly enforced with precautions — including mandatory masks, limited admissions, and social distancing — to help ensure the safety of all visitors and staff. In addition, the Information Center and Greenhouses will not be open but access to restrooms will be available. 

“If it were up to me we would be fully open but we have to do things carefully, we don’t want to create an environment that is hazardous,” explained Losquadro. “We are all very excited — we are looking forward to May 1. The preserve is here so people can come visit the animals and learn and experience it — it’s not to keep them hidden away. We’re anxious to get this incredible place back open.”

The Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site and Animal Preserve is located at 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville. For more information, please call 631-758-9664.

All photos by Heidi Sutton

A car buried in its driveway during the snowstorm earlier this month. Photo by Bill Landon

 

Anthony Portesy

Another storm in Brookhaven, another botched snow removal. How many times must residents be forced to deal with such incompetence when it comes to snow removal? Potholes and snowdrifts don’t care what political party you belong to. In the Town of Brookhaven, the superintendent of highways is elected in an at-large election, rather than appointed, as is the case in many towns in which a department of public works exists. In both of my bids for Brookhaven Town highway superintendent in 2017 and 2019, I openly criticized why pay-to-play practices are eroding our roads and quality of life and the status of the Highway Superintendent as an elected position is a large part of the systemic plague eroding the department’s accountability.

The fact of the matter is this position should be filled by appointment, rather than election. Many decisions on infrastructure need to be based on 10- and 20-year capital plans, and the sobering reality is that elections force a short-term vision that channels reelection interests over long-term planning. It is why we have cheap “mill and fill” paving jobs, rather than full-depth reclamation projects to address underlying structural integrity in roads. If John Q. Public sees roads getting repaved, many do not know that pricing decisions like asphalt composition and curb milling have a long-term impact as to whether the roads will crumble after three years or last for 10 years.

The reality is that towns on Long Island that have elected highway superintendents have structural deficiencies in projects that develop due to the pressure of electoral races. Towns like mine, Brookhaven, should put up for referendum whether to convert their highway departments to DPW formats. None of Nassau’s towns elect highway superintendents, but with the exception of Babylon and Islip, all of Suffolk’s towns do.

In many jobs, what we want is competence. Voting for a town clerk, a county treasurer or a highway superintendent based on politics and party affiliation makes no more sense than choosing an airplane pilot based on those criteria. The current system creates nests of patronage and homes for unqualified political hacks that harm both our governmental structures and the residents who need their services. For instance, what gives my highway superintendent the capacity to lead a highway department when his résumé includes a short stint at New York State Assembly, a Suffolk legislator and, before that, a claims adjuster for State Farm Insurance.

The position of highway superintendent is a job that requires expertise in equipment purchasing, operation and maintenance, emergency management and personnel. The elected town supervisor should pick a person with an engineering background to oversee the department and suffer the lash of voters if he or she picks an incompetent one. In Brookhaven, we get the finger-pointing roulette, where town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) points the finger at Dan Losquadro (R), who in turn points the finger at the supervisor.

We need to look at all jobs, at every level of local government, to determine if political philosophy plays any part in how they should be done. Where it doesn’t, voters should pass referendums making them appointive positions — and punish the elected leaders doing the appointing if their choices fail.

Part of my goal in running for this office twice in Brookhaven was to draw attention to the issues that plague my local highway department, problems that have led our roads to look like they belong in Beirut, instead of Brookhaven. Unfortunately, a well-funded incumbent with a campaign war chest in excess of at least $400,000 makes a political upset nearly impossible with the incumbent able to blanket the airwaves with radio ads and your mailboxes with glossy mailers by the dozens. As a result, the status quo becomes calcified. I had never intended to run the department like my predecessors had I won the election. Rather, I had intended to immediately move the town board to propose to eliminate the position in a referendum to the voters. The position of highway superintendent in my town is one plagued by political patronage, and as I said in both of my campaigns, “Politics has no place in pothole repair.”

Anthony Portesy, of Port Jefferson Station, is a private attorney who ran for Brookhaven superintendent of highways in 2017 and 2019.

A plow trying to clear the roads during the first snowfall of 2021. Photo by Bill Landon

In recent weeks, two large snowstorms have hit Long Island back-to-back. While Town of Brookhaven Superintendent of Highways Dan Losquadro (R) said the town is doing well, when it comes to plowing and cleaning up, some residents say otherwise. 

Melissa Neff of Port Jefferson Station said she has lived in the Town of Brookhaven her entire life and never saw the roads this bad. Her complaint is typical of many residents.

“Ever since I could remember there’s always been plows going up and down the streets,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be drivable.”

Losquadro said all of the town’s vehicles are equipped with GPS, which shows him the times the plows go to each area. 

“During the day we had people calling us on Monday insisting we didn’t plow,” he said. “But when you had snowfall rates of 2, 3, 4 inches an hour and plows go through areas with 40-to-50 miles-per-hour winds, they got completely covered.”

And with the larger storm that occurred the first week of February, that he said lasted more than 30 hours, he claims he met his goal. 

“Within 24 hours of stopping, my goal is to always have every road passable — not pushed all the way back to the curb — but to have every town passable,” he said.

But Neff said she lives on a main road, right off of Route 347, and it was not passable. 

“I’m an essential employee — I have to go to work,” she said.

And when she did, she said, she ended up damaging her new car thanks to a block of ice that was not pushed far enough aside. 

“To see the roads like that and to damage my car — that’s not how you thank essential employees,” she said.

Neff said she is mad and wants answers.

“The taxes we pay in the Town of Brookhaven should cover all of the Town of Brookhaven. … We have a much larger town, and you should have enough taxpayer money to clean a town of this size.”

A car buried in its driveway during the snowstorm earlier this month. Photo by Bill Landon

Losquadro said that he had approximately 200 highway employees working in the field during Sunday’s latest storm. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, about 10 of his workers were quarantined. He added that after the first big snowfall, within days he was on the phone with vendors trying to secure additional equipment. 

“Because of the complications of two back-to-back storms, there were some areas we still are working on — but that was just because 22 inches of snow came down in one week,” he said. “That’s a little bit irregular for Long Island. We don’t deal with it frequently, especially over the last two years where we haven’t had a lot snow.”

Losquadro said that he thinks people have gotten “spoiled” with the lack of snowfalls the last couple of seasons.

“This is Long Island, New York. We can get very little snow, or we can get a lot of snowfall,” he said. 

Neff said she believes that he needs to reach out to more private contractors.

“He has the money for it,” she said. “I don’t know what he does with the money, but he should be reaching out to more private contractors before the snow occurs and pay them on time, so they come back to Brookhaven during the next storm.”

Losquadro responded that the number of available hired contractors is down because of several reasons. He said the lack of snowstorms over the last couple of years has played a part: Outside contractors have gone out of business due to equipment maintenance and insurance; insurance policy rates for plow endorsements have gone up; and the pandemic. 

But Neff said COVID isn’t a good enough excuse for poorly plowed roads.

“COVID is not the reason,” she said. “Other towns have been able to plow and clear their roads better than Brookhaven has.”

Losquadro said that he knows people are unhappy when plows push snow into freshly shoveled driveways.

“My staff don’t have a good answer for that other than its your responsibility as a homeowner,” he said. “Private residences are responsible for cleaning their own driveways including where it meets the roads.”

A shopping center in Shoreham covered in snow. Photo by Bill Landon

He said that snow removal in the Town of Brookhaven has many moving parts. The crews make the roads passable, and day-by-day continue to widen and maintain the impacted snow on the sides of the streets. 

“I don’t think there is anyone who likes shoveling compacted snow,” the highway superintendent said. “It’s just something you have to do when you live in the Northeast. I think that social media and the instant gratification world we live in has led a lot of people to post things and create an unreasonable expectation of a time frame that’s just not obtainable.”

He’s asking residents to be patient.

“What’s the alternative? Don’t plow the roads?” Losquadro said. “We’re going to keep continuing to do what we do, and I hope people appreciate the number of hours and hard work and exhaustion that the men and women who are doing this work put in during and after each of these storms.” 

Photo from the Town of Brookhaven.

It’s helping the environment, but saving a whole lot of money, too.

The Town of Brookhaven Highway Department recently completed phase I of its energy-efficient street light conversion program — a program replacing all low-pressure sodium and high-pressure sodium overhead lights with light-emitting diode (known as LED) streetlights. 

Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said he began researching for this project as soon as he joined the Highway Department in 2013. With the size of the town being equivalent to all of Nassau County, he said that his department is responsible for 44,000 streetlights. With the support of Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and the Town Board, the project was approved.

“The goal that I had in those first years was to go after the highest energy-consuming fixtures that we had,” Losquadro said. 

Brookhaven Highway Department employees replace streetlight fixtures and poles as part of the town’s light conversion project. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven.

During phase I, the department tackled streetlights that are mounted on utility poles known as “cobra heads,” which tend to use the most wattage, and most of those overhead lights have been finalized, after three short years of work. Phase II is now in effect, moving to convert all existing neighborhood post top fixtures to LED lighting, and replacing old fiberglass poles with new aluminum poles to be completed by 2023.

“There are a multitude of factors that play in as to why we wanted to do LED,” the highway superintendent said, noting the energy savings, cost savings and maintenance cost that LED lighting can have. “Not only are you saving that money every year on energy, but instead of having a bulb that’s going to last you two-to-three years, you’re buying a fixture that has a 10-year warranty, with an anticipated life expectancy of up to 20 years — so your maintenance costs go down tremendously.”

Losquadro added that LED lighting is safer and will prevent light pollution compared to other bulbs. 

“I’m a firm believer to do something once and do it right,” he said. “This is about the future of Brookhaven Town, and doing things that are going to pay long term with benefits to everyone, myself included as a resident.”

The total project cost was $11.25 million, however, $4.5 million was paid for with part of the $20 million Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition grant the town was awarded. The remaining $6.75 million was paid for with town funds.  

In 2020, alone, the town has saved $930,000 in energy costs.

Losquadro said, from a taxpayer perspective, the town has already saved $1.5 million. By just using raw numbers, they can expect to pay off the project in less than five years.

“To convert the entire town, it’s a big endeavor,” he added. “You make the upfront investment, but you know you’re going to get a payoff in short.”

He said that “even with a 10-year warranty, you’re paying it off before the things are even out of warranty. And with an anticipated life expectancy of 20-years plus, it’s a tremendous, tremendous savings.”

Brookhaven intends on completing the North Country Road repaving, having recently come close to finishing a section in Miller Place. Photo by Kyle Barr

The Town of Brookhaven has come close to  finishing a single section of a much larger project along North Country Road.

This past weekend, Brookhaven finished paving and painting the lines along North Country Road in Miller Place from Honey Lane to the Miller Place Duck Pond, over to the entrance to the Laddie A. Decker School on Lower Rocky Point Road. The new resurfacing includes fixing the drainage along the side of the road and the installation of sidewalk and curbing. The new road and sidewalks pass in front of several area staples like the Town & Country Market, McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor and the William Miller House.

According to the town Highway Department and Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), the North Country Road Highway project is actually a combination of three separate capital improvement projects. 

The New York State Department of Transportation grant received by the Highway Department funded 60% of the “complete streets” portion of this project, which is the new paving in Miller Place. The contractor responsible for this section of the project should complete their work within the next few weeks. This part of the project came now in order to finish before schools reopened in September.

The second section of this project was the sidewalk and curb installation on North Country Road that was completed in 2019 from the entrance to the Laddie Decker School to Echo Avenue. The Highway Department resurfaced that section of North Country Road Aug. 6.

The final section of this project is North Country Road from Washington Avenue to Route 25A in Sound Beach. Highway crews are completing the preparation work on this stretch of road this week, with the milling and resurfacing of this section to be completed within the next few weeks.

The Brookhaven Highway Department has included in its 2021 budget request to install a significant amount of drainage infrastructure on North Country Road from Pipe Stave Hollow Road to Honey Lane to remove the water from the roadway. Once the drainage work is complete, that final section of roadway will be resurfaced.

This will complete the paving of North Country Road from the Village of Port Jefferson border to Route 25A at the Rocky Point/Miller Place border.

In July, the town announced the finalized resurfacing of Lower Rocky Point Road from Woodhull Landing Road to Rocky Point Landing Road, as well as Hagerman Landing Road. The town is also currently active milling 37 roadways all over Sound Beach. Once milling is complete at a near future date, weather permitting, all roads will be resurfaced. 

Final details about the North Country Road project, including the total cost, grant funding and photos will be available when the project comes to completion in the next few months.

A mountainous pile of plant and tree debris at one of Brookhaven's highway yards where the material is being cut up and mulched. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Officials from the Town of Brookhaven highways department said they were still in the process of picking up all debris from Tropical Storm Isaias that residents put out to the curb Sunday, Aug. 9. It may be another two weeks for the town to fully pick up every tree limb and leaf.

A mountainous pile of plant and tree debris at one of Brookhaven’s highway yards where the material is being cut up and mulched. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

The town originally asked residents to bring organic debris strewn about by Tropical Storm Isaias to the curb by Sunday, Aug. 9 for pickup the following day. In a statement, town Highways Superintendent Dan Losquadro said the amount of debris has meant it has taken time to get to every single street in the thousands of miles of town roads. All debris is being taken to 18 highway department yards and temporary staging areas across the town.

“We appreciate residents getting their debris to the curb in a timely fashion,” Losquadro said in a statement. “I anticipate it will take at least another two weeks before we are able to get to all 3,700 lane miles of road in Brookhaven town. If we have not made our way to your neighborhood yet, please leave all brush and debris at the curb for this one-time bulk collection.”

A spokesperson for the highways department said the town is broken up into four quadrants, and the head of each quadrant is effectively going through it street by street to make sure all the debris is cleaned up. This, combined with the excess amount of debris kicked up by Isaias is why it has taken long for some streets to see pickup. Otherwise roads that are being milled or paved have been given priority.

Officials asked that residents keep the debris in front of their house in the time being until the pickup process has concluded.

In a town board meeting Aug. 13, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) thanked the town highway workers who he said have been working 12 to 14 hour shifts working on the cleanup effort. The town saw over 1,600 trees come down, and more than 400 were involved with power lines.

Brookhaven finalized repairs on Lower Rocky Point Road this past week. Photo from TOB

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced the complete resurfacing of Lower Rocky Point Road from Woodhull Landing Road to Rocky Point Landing Road, as well as Hagerman Landing Road.

Residents have noticed the repaving of the thoroughfare over the past few weeks, which included some need for cars to take detours to avoid construction. Officials said in a press release that the paving project included the milling of nearly 38,000 square yards of roadway, before 4,400 tons of asphalt were put down on the roadway. The total cost for this paving project was approximately $448,300, a portion of which, $138,643, was funded by a Community Development Block Grant.

Losquadro called the road “a very busy, main thoroughfare,” adding, “I am glad we were able to include it, along with Hagerman Landing Road, in our 2020 paving season.”

Bonner said Lower Rocky Point Road is one of the most traveled in her council district.

“This road and Hagerman Landing Road are much safer for drivers, bike riders and pedestrians,” she said.

Left, the Broadway Beach ramp was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012; right, the newly recostructed stairs and drainage system installed by Brookhaven town in 2020. Photos from Town of Brookhaven

Last week, the Town of Brookhaven highway department announced it had completed the $1.165 million stormwater treatment and shoreline stabilization project at the northern end of Broadway in Rocky Point, finishing a slate of over $6 million projects since Hurricane Sandy ravaged Long Island’s coastline eight years ago.

Town officials said the Broadway Beach sustained extensive damage including substantial sand, beach grass and vegetation erosion, as well as the destruction of the gabion-basket wall system, the beach access stairway and the concrete walkway after Sandy in 2012. 

At the end of last year, the town voted to enter into an agreement with the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association to start the project, which was set to start in early 2020 and finish by Memorial Day, May 25. 

In order to reduce risk of damage from future storm events, the gabion-basket walls were completely removed and replaced with steel bulkhead for toe of slope stability and an armor stone revetment wall. Highway officials said the bulkhead — which now protects areas of the bluff that have experienced significant levels of erosion in the past — has a much longer life span than the gabion-basket walls and will better protect the drainage infrastructure and shoreline from high storm surges, nor’easters and hurricanes. A new drainage system and stormwater treatment unit were also designed and incorporated into this project, ensuring that polluted stormwater is not directly discharged into the Long Island Sound.

“The completion of this project will ensure that we are less vulnerable to damage from future storms,” said Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) in a release.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Program has approved for 90 percent reimbursement of the total project cost of $1,165,000. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) helped secure a total of $4.5 million in FEMA grants. The last 10 percent, or $116,500, comes from the town’s highway budget as a capital project.

In the release, Zeldin said the project is “bolstering our area’s storm resiliency,” and is “preventing future water damage.”

This project is the last of a $6 million total Hurricane Sandy response for nearly a decade. This includes:

• Gully Landing Road, Miller Place — Total Cost: $1.4 million; 90 percent funded by FEMA

• Shore Road and Amagansett Drive, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $1.3 million; $233,651 FEMA funded

• Friendship Beach, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $1,045,648; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Hallock Landing Road, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $996,829; 90 percent funded by FEMA

• Sills Gully Beach, Shoreham — Total Cost: $875,000; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Riverhead Drive, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $239,210; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Landing Road, Miller Place — Total Cost: $145,845; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Woodhull Landing Beach, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $70,000

• Hagerman Landing Road, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $43,572

The hill going down on West Broadway in Port Jefferson is well known for its potholes and ripped up pavement. Photo by Kyle Barr

A section of North Shore roadway will benefit from new state funding for the renewal of streets impacted by extreme weather events.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Jan. 23 that $151 million in new funding to complement $743 million in direct state aid provided through the PAVE NY Initiative for local road and bridge projects. Of the new allocation, $6.6 million will be used to renew Route 25A from Nicolls Road in Stony Brook to Main Street/East Broadway in Port Jefferson, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

A portion of Route 25A in Setauket will benefit from state aid. Photo by Rita J. Egan

“New York continues to make nation-leading investments in the renewal and modernization of the state’s roads, bridges, transit systems and airports,” Cuomo said in the release. “These investments are laying the foundation to ensure sustained growth throughout the 21st century in tourism, business and workforce development, and economic opportunities.”

According to the release, the improvement will enhance highway safety and reduce the roughness of roads, which in turn will make them more fuel efficient. Work is estimated to begin this spring and be completed in the winter of 2020.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) brought the severity of local road conditions to the attention of the state Department of Transportation last year, according to a press release from his office. The designated areas have been subjected to serious degradation due to water seepage into road seams and large clusters of filled potholes creating rutted, uneven and unsafe surfaces. One of the worse sections is the roadway near the East Setauket Post Office to CVS, but other sections have deteriorated rapidly, including the hill from Poquott into Port Jefferson.

“Last summer, we noticed an acceleration in the deterioration of different sections of Route 25A,” Englebright said in the statement. “So, I met with DOT staff to communicate the urgent need for repair. After evaluation of the road confirmed the urgency, [NYSDOT] regional director, Joseph Brown, indicated that he would do his best to find funds to do repairs. We want to thank the regional director and his staff for working to include the main highway of our community in this funding program.”

Town of Brookhaven Highway Supervisor Dan Losquadro (R) said while he’s always grateful when he hears of state funding coming the town’s way, when he heard the recent news, he was disappointed as to how little aid was coming to Suffolk County. He pointed to the fact that the section of Route 25A is the only one designated in the area. He added there is a desperate need for state funding to be reinstated for work on Route 347, specifically for the Nicolls Road overpass and intersection.

Losquadro said he will continue conversations with state legislators about state roads, also the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, otherwise known as CHIPS, allocation for local streets.

“I really hope that this is a starting point and not an endpoint when it comes to the proposal for funding for infrastructure for Long Island, because paving one road in Suffolk County really isn’t to me an adequate investment on the part of the state Legislature,” Losquadro said.

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Broadway Beach in Rocky Point still shows major storm damage. Photo by Kyle Barr

Town of Brookhaven highway officials are completing the final FEMA-funded project to shore-up Brookhaven shoreline following Hurricane Sandy, the storm that wrecked Long Island’s coastline nearly 7½ years ago.

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Town Board voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association to go in and add a new stone revetment and bulk heading to halt erosion, but also adding an interceptor unit at the end of Broadway in Rocky Point, one that town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said will treat runoff for sediment and organic material before it outfalls into Long Island Sound. The project is expected to start early in 2020 and finish by Memorial Day. Losquadro said he doesn’t expect any major difficulties in construction.

“The storm presented an opportunity — building it stronger so it doesn’t get damaged later,” he said.

While the town only got federal approval for the project last year, the costs comes in at about $1.2 million, with 90 percent being taken up by Federal Emergency Management Agency funds secured in part, Losquadro said, by U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1). The last 10 percent, or $120,000, comes from the town’s highway budget as a capital project.

The interceptor unit is a large concrete drum that will lie somewhere under the road.

Losquadro said the town has been involved with 10 other Sandy-related projects on the North Shore since the storm hit, which not only look to repair storm damage but help prevent future injury to the shoreline. The town has spent around $12 million in FEMA and their own funds with these construction projects, he said.

Many of the roads lying nearest to the shore are named some combination of “gully” and “landing,” with many of these streets being low-lying areas where water naturally congregates. Where once they were dirt and gravel, paving them has led to drainage complications. Much of the land is privately owned, such as the case of the end of Broadway and the connected beachfront. 

“There’s been a number of homeowner associations we’ve had to work with,” the highway superintendent said. “A lot of these drainage easements go through private properties.”

A representative of the NSBPOA did not return calls for comment from their clubhouse.