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Main Street sidewalk restoration a consideration as major National Grid project approaches

Village by: Joanne Kountourakis, December 8, 2022

The upcoming National Grid project to replace the gas main along Main Street could be swiftly followed up by a restoration of the Village’s sidewalks, along with other infrastructure improvements.

There’s a big project coming to Northport Village, one that local officials are hoping to use as an opportunity to upgrade infrastructure along Main Street.

Beginning in early January 2023, National Grid contractor crews will be replacing the gas main along Main Street from Church Street to Woodbine Avenue, a project that could be swiftly followed up by a restoration of the Village’s sidewalks, along with other infrastructure improvements.

A committee formed by Northport Village Mayor Donna Koch has been tasked specifically with putting these projects together. It only made sense to have them coincide with the National Grid gas main upgrade, which is being coordinated with the Village of Northport, Mayor Koch said in a conversation with the Journal last month.

Members of the Main Street committee include Mayor Koch, Northport Village Trustee Dave Weber, Assistant to the Mayor Don Tesoriero, Northport Chamber of Commerce President Janet Hoeft, local business owner and longtime resident Ron Iannacone, Village resident and certified arborist Kevin Kavanaugh, and Henry Tobin, chair of the Village’s Architectural and Historical Review Board.

Mayor Koch said preliminary plans to complete the National Grid project in spring/summer were rejected so as to afford businesses the opportunity to operate without interruption throughout the busy tourist season. The mayor continues to be adamant about this project not negatively impacting commerce and/or residents, said Trustee Weber.

National Grid project details
Replacing the old gas main “will provide a modernized natural gas system that is safer, cleaner and more resilient,” said National Grid in an informational flier shared with the Journal early last week. The new distribution pipelines, the flier explains, will serve the growing demand for gas and improve reliability.

National Grid anticipates the duration of the project to run from January through May 2023. The current plan is to start by Church Street and travel toward Woodbine Avenue, though “this may change once we have a complete mark-out and know where all of the crossing utility are,” said company officials.

According to National Grid, any service interruptions will be scheduled and of short duration. All businesses will remain open during construction, with crews generally working between the hours of 7am and 3pm, Monday through Friday, with work on Saturdays considered on an as-needed basis, if the project falls behind schedule, said officials. There will be no road closures, however, “motorists can expect lane shifts, merging traffic and delays.”

In an email to the Journal, Northport Village Trustee Dave Weber described the project in detail. Two new gas mains will be run parallel to both Main Street’s north and south curbs from Church/Ocean to Woodbine/Bayview, he said. After the main lines are installed, National Grid will run lateral service lines to all properties. Once this is complete and all testing is passed, the gas company will return and connect each individual property to the new service.

The project will impact sections of Main Street as it moves toward the harbor, though driveways and entrances will remain open, confirmed National Grid. As discussed at the December 6 board meeting, at the end of each work day, construction crews will close up the holes with a temporary asphalt patch. Mayor Koch does not anticipate businesses having to close for any amount of time during the work.

When the construction project is totally complete, National Grid will be responsible for replacing the temporary asphalt patches with concrete, wrote Trustee Weber. The Village will use this opportunity to upgrade infrastructure along Main Street, he added.

Main Street Committee considerations
Upgrades could include new drainage, new lampposts, new trees, new parking meters and a restoration of sidewalks, said Trustee Weber.

When she spoke with the Journal in November, Mayor Koch said the new lampposts would be capable of carrying more weight than the existing ones, enough to accommodate a hanging flower basket. The committee is also considering both multi-space parking meters (commonly referred to as Muni-Meters) and individual meters, she added.

At the December 6 Village board meeting, Mayor Koch said Village officials will section out any infrastructure projects after National Grid completes each portion of its work, determining what each section needs individually.

Sidewalks at the corner of Church and Main, and Ocean and Main, will be made ADA compliant with the addition of curb ramps, confirmed the mayor. That project was helped along with a $53,000 grant; the Village will put in another $25,000, she told the Journal.

What other projects will be completed will be based largely on funding; potential sources are being explored, Mayor Koch said, and reimbursements are a possibility being discussed.

“The mayor has already secured a grant for the trees, if needed, as well as some of the drainage work but obviously more funding is needed,” Trustee Weber told the Journal. Once the Main Street committee works out the small details, Mr. Weber added, the project could be turned over to the Village engineer, after which more grant opportunities may become available. “This is a monumental task to put together and organize and I am looking forward to seeing it through,” he said.

National Grid has committed to planting 12 trees along Main Street in the spring when the project is completed. Mayor Koch confirmed the donation at this week’s Northport Village board meeting, placing its value at $7,200. The possibility of saving some existing trees, an option brought up by Village resident and landscape architect Robb Smith at a previous board meeting, is also being considered, the mayor said.

Have questions?
As part of its outreach, National Grid will be walking the project route handing out fliers and answering any questions residents may have. Representatives from the company will also be available at a Community Q&A session, to be held at Village Hall on Thursday, December 15 at 7pm.