Construction has begun on a $71.4 million project to modernize a segment of Route 347, according to a statement from the New York State Department of Transportation.
The project will add new travel lanes, signals, crosswalks and other improvements to a 2-mile section of the roadway between Gibbs Pond Road and Hallock Road in the towns of Smithtown and Brookhaven.
The work, which wasn’t scheduled to start until next year, is the latest phase in the DOT’s ongoing initiative to “ease congestion, improve mobility and enhance safety” along Route 347, sometimes called Smithtown Bypass, by transforming a 12-mile stretch between Routes 454 and 25A into a “multi-modal, environmentally sustainable boulevard for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users,” according to the statement.
Following five earlier phases of the Route 347 project, the new phase will add a new road surface, raised planted medians and a continuous third travel lane in both directions. Intersections with local roads and the Smith Haven Mall entrances will also be enhanced with new traffic signals and turning lanes to improve traffic flow.
In addition, the project will create bus stops with pull-off areas for buses, shaded shelters and solar powered lighting, solar-powered pedestrian level lighting at intersections, coordinated traffic signals to reduce congestion and high-visibility crosswalks with pedestrian countdown timers.
The Parks to Ports Greenway shared-use path that’s adjacent to the road’s eastbound lanes will also be extended by an additional 2 miles as part of the project. Bicycle racks and informational panels with details about the local community and environment, new landscaping, a greenway stop with benches and informational panels and rain gardens to improve the collection and treatment of storm water runoff are also part of the project.
Work zones will be established behind barriers to avoid affecting daytime traffic and lane closures will be conducted primarily during off-peak and overnight hours, the DOT says. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.