A rocky commute in Malverne

Village board speaks out about road conditions

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The Malverne village board started a five-year plan to improve roads in 2016, but utility projects have delayed the work. Last year, National Grid upgraded the natural gas system in the village, and New York American Water updated over 10,300 linear feet — just under two miles — of water mains.

The work done at Eimer Avenue and Wagg Avenue, though, left the streets in poor condition, according to Deputy Mayor Keith Corbett. “We’re happy that the utilities are investing and putting new infrastructure in,” Corbett said. “No one’s trying to stop that from happening. There’s been so much activity, but I don’t think the utilities have made sure that things are put back to the proper level.”

Karen Young, a spokeswoman for National Grid, said when work is completed, the company repairs the roads with temporary asphalt, followed by permanent paving. “We are committed to working cooperatively with the village on the final paving to minimize disruption to the community and maintain the integrity and safety of the streets,” Young said.

In addition, PSEG Long Island is set to begin its underground cable plan, which is part of a $176 million project to install a 7.3-mile, 138-kilovolt underground transmission line between Garden City and Lynbrook, Corbett said.

“Whenever any kind of electrical project is planned in a community, we work closely with municipalities to keep the lines of communication open,” Jeremy Walsh, a spokesman for PSEG Long Island, said in a statement. “We appreciate our relationship with officials in the Village of Malverne and look forward to continuing to work together to provide reliable and safe electric service for all residents.”

Trustee John O’Brien, who lives near Wagg Avenue, said that residents often ask him about village roads. “They think it’s a part of our roadway improvement project,” O’Brien said. “But I tell them that it’s not us. It’s the utilities.”

The village board has taken the utilities on tours through the community to show them which roads need repair. The challenge, Trustee Lauren Touchard explained, is keeping all parties on track with the village’s five-year plan.

“We’ve taken a proactive approach in coordinating with the utility companies to make sure that they know our target areas,” Touchard said. “It’s coordinating with them and holding them to that timeframe.”

“The water main replacement was done in close coordination with the village’s roadway improvement program and gas line replacement work being done by National Grid,” John Kilpatrick, the company’s engineering manager, saud in a statement. “Work in 2018 included the installation of a new 12-inch diameter transmission main and required directional boring underneath the Long Island Rail Road tracks on Hempstead Avenue.”

Kilpatrick added that in 2019, NYAW plans to construct more than 8,000 linear feet of water main in conjunction with the village’s planned road improvements. “These water main replacements represent a more than $4 million investment in the village that serves to strengthen the overall reliability of the water system and provide needed replacement of aging infrastructure,” he said.

The village board proposed the idea of inviting representatives of each utility to get together to discuss a plan to make the needed repairs. Up to this point, Corbett said, the coordination between each of the utilities’ projects has been “horrendous.”

“That’s the biggest problem anyone has with them,” Corbett said. “We have to be a little more aggressive with the utilities. We’re not going to sit idly by anymore.”

He added, “We are willing to put all options on the table to go after the utilities to make sure that after they open up our roads, they put it back to a respectable standard.”

Thoughts about road conditions in Malverne? Send your letter to the editor at ngrant@liherald.com.