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NY Route 347 Blooms Into Greenway Corridor

Increasing urbanization along the highway has led to attendant congestion and related safety concerns.

Tue September 23, 2014 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed

The flowering of NY Route 347 into a greenway corridor has its roots in a county road passing through what was once farming country in Suffolk County, Long Island.

Taken over in the mid 1960s by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the road was renamed NY Route 347. Since that time, increasing urbanization along the highway has led to attendant congestion and related safety concerns.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the commencement of the current phase in the transformation of Route 347 in June 2013. In his remarks on that occasion, he stated under New York State’s Drivers First initiative, construction would progress “in a way that provides the least hassle for drivers while getting the work done quickly and efficiently for our taxpayers.”

Eileen Peters, public information officer of Region 10, NYSDOT, described the overall project as “Route 347 being transformed into a modified boulevard and suburban greenway for 15 miles through the three towns of Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven to improve mobility for the approximately 71,000 drivers who use this corridor each day.”

In June 2013 Posillico Civil Inc., based in Farmingdale, N.Y., was awarded a $30.5 million Design-Build contract to rehabilitate a mile of Route 347 from Route 111 to Mount Pleasant Road. This is the second contract awarded for the overall project, awards determined via the Best Value procurement method, which scores proposals based on cost and certain value criteria, including the contractor’s technical ability to perform the work.

Posillico’s partners for the job are AECOM, of New York, N.Y., which handles engineering design, and LKMA, located in Brookhaven, N.Y., which is performing construction inspection.

“This is the first Design-Build highway project on Long Island where the designer, contractor and inspectors are working on the same team to design and build a section of new highway. The project is being constructed under the vision plan that was put forth by the region in developing the entire corridor from Hauppauge to Port Jefferson,” Peter V. Brindley, vice president of Posillico’s Long Island Operations, said.

In addition to its rehabilitation, highway widening will provide an additional lane in each direction. The scope of this current project includes new drainage, retaining wall, median barrier, landscaping, paving, installation of noise walls and upgrading utilities along that section of Route 347. The project scope requires installation of approximately 5,000 ft. (1,524 m) of noise wall including more than 330 footings, 500 ft. (152.4 m) of retaining wall, 100 new drainage structures, and 13,900 ft. (4,236.7 m) of RCP and HDPE piping. Work also includes water main, gas main and telephone relocation, curb and sidewalk replacement, pavement restoration, sump basin earthwork and extensive utility relocation coordination, all performed while safely maintaining vehicular traffic on a busy state highway at all times.

As of August, this section of Route 347 is approximately 60 percent complete, with most of the drainage piping complete and two of the four noise walls constructed. Utility relocations and the retaining wall are almost complete and installation of curbing, with some asphalt widening, is nearing completion.

“We have utilized a lot of different equipment on the project, including excavators, both wheeled and tracked, dozers, rollers, payloaders and paving equipment, and we have also utilized some specialized equipment,” Posillico’s Brindley said.

“One piece is a LoDrill mounted to a Komatsu excavator. The LoDrill is a specialized excavator attachment that is utilized to auger holes in the earth to varying diameters and depths in order to install noise wall foundations within the tight constraints of the job, i.e. overhead power lines, homeowner properties, and the Route 347 traveling public,” he said.

“There is also a Tadano Mantis track-mounted hydraulic crane, another specialized piece of equipment we are currently using to save time while setting noise wall panels. The track mounting of the crane allows the crane to reset for each lift without having to reset outriggers each time,” he added.

The remaining work for this phase includes installation of bus stops, a continuation of the shared use path including a scenic rest area, sidewalks, solar powered street lighting, planted median barrier, recharge basins and rain gardens, and what Brindley described as “lots of landscaping.”

Utilizing salvaged and recycled materials as much as possible, the path rest area also will feature benches, a rain garden and interpretive signs. Also provided in the plans: nesting structures for birds. To address pedestrian traffic longer crossing times will apply at crosswalks, with planned traffic calming measures to include lowering the speed limit to 45 miles per hour.

Substantial completion of the construction and opening of the greenway to motorists is expected by the end of 2014. It will then provide three travel lanes in each direction east of Route 111 to the adjoining project east of Mount Pleasant Road.

NYSDOT has announced plans for the entire NY Route 347 corridor, which include a Parks to Ports and Harbors theme tying together local destinations such as Blydenburgh County Park and Port Jefferson Harbor. Local Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, who grew up in Hauppauge not far from Route 347, praised the project, recalling he had witnessed changes to the character of this old farm road as it slowly became a major thoroughfare as Smithtown and eastern Long Island grew in population.

About Posillico

Civil Inc.

Posillico Civil Inc., formerly J.D. Posillico Inc., was founded by Joseph D. Posillico Sr., Americo Posillico, and Virginia Seeley in January 1946 as a trucking contractor. Now a third-generation business serving the Tri-State area, a rebranding in 2007 led to the unification of several affiliates and the expansion of Posillico’s structure to encompass major infrastructure, environmental, and design-build projects, while continuing the legacy of solving complex problems safely and on time.

Past major contracts handled by Posillico Civil Inc., include a $360 million joint venture with Tully Construction to reconstruct New York State’s Belt Parkway, completion of the last two HOV expansion projects capping a $600-plus million portion of a $1 billion HOV construction program. In 2012, Posillico received the award for the first NYSDOT design-build project on Long Island Accelerated Bridge Design Build Program, which included the rehabilitation of six bridges at various locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Despite the devastating blow of Hurricane Sandy, which affected several project locations, including one of the bridges located on Fire Island, which took the brunt of the storm, Posillico was able to complete the project successfully and on time by December 2013. This project won the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Long Island branch 2014 Project of the Year.

The company’s honors include the American Society of Civil Engineers 2011 Highway Project of the Year and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2011 On-Time Award, both for the Route 110 bridge over the Long Island Expressway. In 2013, the Engineering News Record (ENR) named Posillico for the fifth consecutive year as one of the Top 200 Civil Firms as well as a Top Environmental Firm in North America for the sixth consecutive year.

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