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Oakland Avenue Residents Want Answers

Still no answer from Highway Department or town officials about plan for East Northport street.

There’s still no word from the Highway Department or Town officials regarding a re-opening of newly repaved Oakland Avenue to make way for a gas pipeline to the VA Medical Center.

Despite repeated phone calls and emails to Highway Superintendent William Naughton and Town of Huntington officials, residents of Oakland Avenue in East Northport say they have yet to get any answers regarding National Grid’s installation of a natural gas pipeline to the . Their road, which was just repaved in late October, may need to be again.

On Nov. 10, National Grid spokesperson Wendy Ladd confirmed that the Town is still reviewing the revised plans and no work has been scheduled for Oakland.  However, she said National Grid is looking to start work on Pulaski Road this week.

Oakland Avenue residents tell a different story. Phil Dalton, who has lived on the block for more than four years, says Asplundh workers arrived earlier in the week to spraypaint marks on the road for digging. They told his wife that work will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday.  

The situation has attracted media attention. Channel 55 and Newsday have covered the story, with Newsday reporting that the October repaving cost taxpayers $93,000. Dalton says he recalls Mike Kaplan in the Highway Department saying that the repaving costs for the Oakland Avenue portion of the road were $25,000.

Dalton attended the Town Board meeting on Nov. 9 and asked officials to censure Highway Superintendent William Naughton for his lack of response to the matter. He said Supervisor Frank Petrone thanked him and said the Town was looking into the matter.

Dalton said it would be nice if the road were re-paved again. “But all they’re doing is re-paving over Naughton’s mistake. And we’re paying for it.”

Residents Michael and Irene Taub, who were unable to attend the meeting, sent an email to Town officials expressing their frustration at ripping up a newly repaved road without exploring other options:

“In simplest terms, this entire project has been poorly planned and managed, there has been little to no accountability, and as taxpayers, and your constituents, it is appalling that the public hearing process was completely devoid of members of this neighborhood.”

The Taubs cite safety concerns in the event of a leak, and want to know who will be responsible for clearing snow from the vent which will be placed at the end of the road. They also want assurance that the road would be repaved, not repatched, by National Grid.

In addition Taub says that when the Town did the recent paving, they went over the road without “milling”, or removing the old surface.  As a result, the street level is higher than the end of his driveway which now leads to pooling of water during storms.

The Taubs have not gotten any response from Town officials to their email.

Highway Department spokesperson Michael Kaplan said that the Highway Department knew nothing about National Grid’s plans to re-open the road. However, Ladd confirmed that initial plans had been approved by the Department over the summer but had expired.  They were resubmitted and revised at the Highway Department’s request last week.

Phone calls and emails to Highway Superintendent William Naughton’s office have not been returned. On Friday, Nov. 4, Patch called the office four consecutive times, only to have the call repeatedly disconnected.

Phone calls to Town Councilwoman Susan Berland and Councilman Mark Mayoka were also unreturned.

See Patch's initial coverage of the issue .

gumfreestreetsUSA November 14, 2011 at 03:35 PM
I feel deeply for the fine folks that live on Oakland Avenue.An error was made with taxpayer's money. After the pipeline is installed they deserve a perfect redo of the street. possibly with interlock paving stone for Huntington's Township MEA CULPA.
Tom Dewick November 15, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Naughton is great at his job. I know because I read it on those signs he puts up all over town.
Robert Harvey November 16, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Get on with it... no wonder America cannot get anything done!

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