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Plan to divert truck traffic through North Fork scrapped by N.Y. Metropolitan Transportation Council

The Cross Sound Enhancement Project has been stricken from the N.Y. Metropolitan Transportation Council’s regional freight transportation plan.

Members of the council’s program, finance and administration committee voted unanimously yesterday afternoon to remove the controversial proposal, which called for the enhancement of ferry services between New London and Orient to reroute truck traffic from I-95 in Connecticut to I-495 on Long Island.

The council received 52 comments from citizens, organizations and elected officials, the vast majority of which were opposed to the proposal, NYMTEC planning director Gerry Bogacz noted before calling the vote on a resolution to delete the Cross Sound Enhancement Project from the plan. NYMTEC co-chairman Steve Bellone also expressed his concerns about the project, Bogacz said.

NYMTC documents indicated the Cross Sound Enhancement Project would divert 3,000 tractor-trailers per year off I-95, a congested highway and onto the L.I. Expressway by way of Route 25 and Route 58.

“It can only be described as a bone-headed idea,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell told the standing-room-only crowd.

“The community and our elected officials galvanized to oppose a plan that made no sense and never should have even been considered,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said today. “It’s clear that whoever created this bone-headed proposal never traveled the very route it was supposed to employ,” he said.

“All of the residents and our elected officials should be proud of the successful effort here,” Russell said.

“I want to especially thank Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and Legislator Albert Krupski, who’s support and effort in opposition made it clear that the freight trucks are not welcome here.”

“The rural East End roads are not designed to handle heavy pass through truck traffic” Krupski said. “The diligence of the local community and the commitment of the county executive have prevented the deterioration of our quality of life that this proposal would have created.”

Local civic leaders, who pushed elected officials to oppose the plan and urged residents to write letters of opposition to NYMTC, reacted to the news with delight.

“Fantastic! That’s great news,” East Marion Community Association president Robin Imandt said. “I think everybody on the North Fork agreed on something for the first time.”

“We’re very happy,” EMCA vice president Anne Murray said. “It wasn’t well thought-out. They never even visited the North Fork to see what that truck traffic would do,” she said.

“We are delighted that the officials at NYMTC and especially our elected representatives have joined with the community and we welcome the changes this reflects,” Orient Association president Bob Hanlon said.

“But the project still exists in the federal plan,” Hanlon cautioned. “We will be working with our elected officials to have the U.S. DOT drop this plan from their agenda as well.”

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.