MTA Construction & Development’s LIRR Expansion Project will undoubtedly make riding the rails better by reducing train delays and enabling true bi-directional service during peak hours with a more reliable rail network. But all these upgrades and new infrastructure also goes a long way to improve quality of life in the communities through which it passes.
Residents along the 10-mile corridor from Floral Park to Hicksville already have experienced more quiet, safer and environmentally friendlier communities with the improvements being made as part of the Expansion Project – and additional benefits are yet to come. When the project is fully complete by the end of 2022, MTA C&D, LIRR and 3rd Track Constructors will have eliminated eight railroad grade crossings, replaced or expanded seven bridges, and installed sound and retaining walls along virtually the entire corridor.
So what does that mean for residents? Benefits of the sound walls are obvious – reduction of noise. Installation of sound walls will reach heights of at least four feet above the rail. Since contact between train wheels and the rails account for most of the noise, sound walls will contribute significantly to reducing train noise for those living along the right-of-way. Nearly 35,000 feet of walls have been installed to date.
With two undergrade crossings already completed at Urban Avenue and Covert Avenue, residents of New Cassel and Floral Park are no longer bothered by crossing gate bells and train horns. They don’t have to wait at down crossing gates anymore and traffic backups are greatly reduced, which also reduces vehicle exhaust. Others will experience the same benefits in their communities with the soon-to-be-opened New Hyde Park Road undergrade crossing and School Street in Westbury, which is scheduled to be opened in November.
New railroad bridges also benefit communities by virtually eliminating truck strikes, which cause road closures and detours as crews must inspect affected bridges to ensure their structural integrity. To date, crews completed five bridge replacements.
By the time the MTA completes the LIRR Expansion Project, communities along the tracks in this corridor will have less noise, less traffic, and less resulting pollution from that traffic. Those who take the train will see an improved and more reliable commute. It’s already a win-win for all and additional communities will see similar improvements between now and when the project is completed by the end of 2022 – on time and on budget.