Video: We’re Pumped Up at Urban Avenue

The elimination of the Urban Avenue grade crossing was an exciting milestone for LIRR Expansion Project: residents now have less noise from passing trains and emissions from queued cars, no more waiting at the gates…the trouble is, according to residents, Urban Avenue is prone to flooding. One resident remarked, prior to the commencement of the Expansion Project: “I don’t know if you’re aware that Urban Avenue, every time it rains is flooded. So they have to stop the traffic just to get the water out.”

This problem has been addressed with the installation of a massive pump system to remove water from the underpass. AModernLI spoke with Construction Manager Ihab “Bob” Shafei, who explains how a new pump station at Urban Avenue addresses a longstanding drainage problem. “This pump station is capable of handling a 100-year flood,” he tells us. Watch the video.

The elimination of the Urban Avenue grade crossing is part of the LIRR Expansion Project to enhance the reliability of LIRR infrastructure and ultimately support growth and development on Long Island. For more information, construction photos and architectural renderings, please visit the Urban Avenue Grade Crossing Elimination project page on

The LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville, reducing train congestion and delays and enabling true bi-directional service during peak hours. The Project is part of a multibillion-dollar modernization of the Long Island Rail Road, the largest investment the railroad has received in decades. Once the work is complete, the LIRR will have increased its capacity by roughly 50 percent. With the additional planned upgrades to stations, amenities, bridges and grade crossing eliminations, the project will help transform transportation across the region and provide a reliable, state-of-the-art rail system for the people of Long Island. For more information and photos of ongoing construction, please visit the LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville project page on