Long Island’s third-track LIRR makeover

The proposed addition of a third track to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line will not only aim to ease the commutes of a half-million LIRR customers, but will also mean a facelift for several locations where the new track will cross.

The state’s estimated $2 billion plan to build a 9.8-mile-long third track beginning this year will also require encroaching on as many as two dozen private properties, including four businesses that could be uprooted and demolished, project officials say.

Despite assurances that the new track will be built entirely on the railroad’s existing right of way, several related improvements, including retaining walls, drainage improvements, and expanded station platforms, will require working or building on privately-owned parcels.

Here’s a look at some of the possible changes in three locations:

1. New Hyde Park Road crossing, New Hyde Park

According to the project proposal, the current road-grade crossing, seen below, would be eliminated and replaced with an elevated crossing. In addition, nearby business Safeguard Self Storage would be demolished to make way for potential drainage features and a new station parking lot.

Option 1: One possible makeover for this crossing is creating a five-lane underpass instead, with a “kiss and ride” drop-off northwest of the tracks, seen in the rendering below.

Option 2: Another option for this crossing is to create a four-lane underpass, with a “kiss and ride” drop-off southwest of the tracks substation.

2. Covert Avenue crossing, New Hyde Park

The existing road-grade crossing here would be eliminated, and New Hyde Park Auto Clinic would need to be acquired “in part or in full” to accommodate that.

The new Covert Avenue crossing would require raising the LIRR tracks roughly 5 feet and constructing a two-lane underpass with a sidewalk, as seen in the rendering below.

3. School Street crossing, Westbury

Dependable Acme Threaded Products, a business near this crossing, would be leveled to accommodate retaining walls where the road would go under the elevated tracks. In the third-track proposal, the MTA plans to create a two-way underpass and to raise the tracks several feet.

Option 1: One possible plan is relocating the access of another commercial property on the northwest corner of the intersection of School Street and the LIRR tracks to Union Avenue, as seen in this rendering below.

Option 2: A second option would maintain access to the commercial property on the northwest corner, as seen in this rendering below.

With Newsday staff