Suffolk businesses urge state to improve Route 347 traffic

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NESCONSET -

Some businesses in Suffolk County are calling on the state Department of Transportation to alleviate traffic concerns along Route 347.

Mark Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors' Association, says the plan was to expand the 15-mile corridor through the towns of Smithtown and Brookhaven from two lanes to three.

With about one-third of the project completed, Herbst says it came to a halt last December over a lack of funding.

More than a dozen business and labor groups from across Long Island have penned a letter to the state DOT requesting an immediate infusion of funds to continue the redevelopment of Route 347.

"An additional $15 million was included in the current budget to lay the groundwork for future phases, which includes preliminary engineering and right of way requirements," a DOT spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson adds that $160 million has already been put into the project.

Herbst says groups are asking Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to veto the five-year transportation plan unless it includes funding for construction.

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