Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, MTA Construction & Development President Janno Lieber and local elected officials today opened the new School Street underpass in the Village of Westbury and Hamlet of New Cassel. The undergrade crossing separates it from the Long Island Rail Road Main Line. It’s the fifth railroad crossing to be eliminated in the past 14 months – on time and on budget – as part of the LIRR Expansion Project (Third Track).
In coordination with the LIRR, and municipal, county and state government partners, MTA C&D rebuilt the railroad crossing at School Street as a two-lane grade separated underpass with a sidewalk on the east side. The roadway project began with utility relocation in September of 2019, followed by LIRR signal modification in April 2020.
The School Street railroad crossing was the site of a tragic collision on Feb. 26, 2019, in which the three occupants of an automobile lost their lives after driving around downed crossing gates.
The grade crossing eliminations will enhance safety, reduce noise and air pollution and reduce traffic back-ups, as vehicles will no longer need to wait at crossings as trains pass, which can be as much as 35 percent of the time during rush hours. Stations along the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville are being rebuilt to accommodate a new third track and will include amenities such as platform canopies; new platform furnishings like benches, shelters and signage; CCTV security cameras to improve safety; ADA-compliant mobility improvements including ramps and/or elevators; free public Wi-Fi; USB charging stations and digital information displays.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, MTA C&D continues to complete projects that will benefit Long Island faster and cheaper than before.
This fast pace of work and the use of unique engineering methods limited the associated traffic detour to just six months. Funding for the LIRR Expansion Project comes from the MTA’s 2015-19 Capital Program and 2020-24 Capital Program.