Paving on Roanoke Avenue will begin next week and will take five or six days to complete, according to the head of operations for the contracting company that won the $3.6 million contract.

The project, which includes extensive road, sidewalk and drainage work from Main Street to Route 58, was delayed by coordination with utility companies and change orders on some aspects of drainage work, Bill Murtagh of United Fence and Guard Rail Corp. said in an interview.

The road reconstruction project was originally scheduled to be completed this spring.

“A lot of utilities needed to be relocated,” Murtagh said. Coordination among utility companies is often a complicated endeavor, he said. Then there were change orders pertaining to drainage work the county wanted done.

Earlier today County Legislator Al Krupski said Suffolk Department of Public Works officials attributed the delay to an “issue with the contractor’s schedule.” He said he had no information from DPW about when paving would get underway.

Last month, Suffolk DPW told Krupski they intended to have the project finished before the start of the new school year, according to an email to Krupski from a DPW engineer provided to RiverheadLOCAL by the legislator’s office. School opened today. One of the Riverhead school district’s four elementary schools is located on Roanoke Avenue, as is the Riverhead Fire Department’s headquarters.

Roanoke Avenue is the route used by ambulances transporting patients from points south of the river and the rough road surfaces left after milling work was done can be difficult for patients, Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said in an interview. Krupski said he had spoken to Mitchell this morning about the status of the project.

“I know this is disappointing to many Riverhead residents and creates an inconvenience,” Krupski acknowledged. He said he has been reassured by DPW officials that “they will work closely with Riverhead Town Police, the fire department and the school district to ensure the safety of residents.”

Krupski said the “problematic issues” along Roanoke Avenue have been addressed during the course of the project, including replacing and expanding deteriorating drainage systems, which will mitigate the flooding of Cranberry Street and Southern Parkway and improve water quality of Merritt’s Pond, as well as installing sidewalks that are handicapped-accessible, and upgrading traffic signal equipment.

The project will result in consistent 11-foot-wide travel lanes (north and south bound) with 4-foot shoulders for approximately 1.25 miles from Main Street to CR 58, Old Country Road, creating a much safer thoroughfare, the legislator said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.