Town, LIRR at odds over need for new rail crossing
The Town of Brookhaven is looking to alleviate frequent traffic backups at Mastic's railroad crossings, but the Long Island Rail Road wants to put the brakes on the project.
Mastic residents say they've been dealing with worsening congestion, especially near the crossings. When the gates come down, drivers say traffic gets backed up for 10 to 15 minutes each time.
"If the train comes, you're out of business because you'll be sitting there for a long time," says Ed Ferrara, of nearby Center Moriches.
The area has three rail crossings: one on Mastic Road, another on Smith Road and one on William Floyd Parkway. The William Floyd crossing sees more than 52,000 cars drive through every day.
Civic leaders and Brookhaven town officials want another railroad crossing added to the area.
"People in the Mastic-Shirley area need another means to get in and out to go to work," said Town Councilman Dan Panico. "All we need is the yes."
But so far, the LIRR has said no. The railroad says it has "long opposed the creation of new grade crossings for safety reasons."
Brookhaven plans to send its request for a hearing on the matter to the state Department of Transportation by the end of the week. If the DOT approves the additional railroad crossing, funding for the project would still need to be worked out.