Verizon workers were back on the job on Noyac Road this week. Stephen J. Kotz
By Stephen J. Kotz
The presence of a Verizon crew on Noyac Road in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone gift shop this week was a welcome, if overdue, sight to Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor.
The telephone company’s crews “pulled out of the job last week on Tuesday afternoon [April 22] and never had the courtesy to tell us,” said Mr. Gregor on Friday. Mr. Gregor said he had first been told Verizon would not be able to finish its work, splicing wires and moving poles, until the end of June, jeopardizing the completion this summer of a project intended to make that stretch of Noyac Road safer.
After applying pressure on the phone company, Mr. Gregor said he had since been told that crews would be able to finish their portion of the work by the end of this month, which would still cause a serious delay in the project.
“We need two months to get the job done” after the poles are moved, he said. If Verizon’s crews don’t get their part of the project done in a timely fashion, Mr. Gregor said, “we may just have to wait until fall” to repave the road. “We’re going to see what the timing is to see if we can do some of the work now and do some of the work after Labor Day,” he added.
Last month, the highway superintendent told the Noyac Civic Council that he wanted to get the project done by the end of June to avoid disrupting traffic after school lets out and mobs of summer visitors descend on the South Fork, but that that timeframe depended on the phone company completing its work by the first week of May.
“We know in July and August you don’t want to be on the main roads doing construction,” he said this week.
As it is, after Memorial Day, assuming paving crews are able to get started, work will be suspended on Fridays and Mondays to avoid creating more tie-ups as weekend traffic increases with the arrival of the summer season.
The highway superintendent said he had been told Verizon workers had been pulled from the project because their supervising engineer retired at the end of the month, but he said the real reason was because Verizon “wanted us to pay for their time and equipment,” something the town refused to do, as part of the road project.
On Tuesday, Linda Heine, the owner of the Whalebone and a long-time opponent of the project, said the work has not caused traffic problems—yet. She said even though both the road the parking areas in front of the businesses will be widened, there will be problems because access to store parking will be limited to driveways at either end of the business block. When delivery trucks block one end of the parking area, a common occurrence, she said, traffic will be backed up.
“There’s not enough room to effect the kind of change they want,” she said. “I hope and I pray it’s going to be a nice thing, but I’m not counting on it.”
Mr. Gregor said it was time to get to work. ‘We have gone so far,” he said. “It’s time to execute the project.”