Commack residents were assured they will soon see improved enforcement of the trucking restrictions on Townline Road.
Suffolk Legis. Steven Stern, D-Dix Hills, said the county legislature recently approved plans to build a commercial truck inspection station in Commack to address local traffic and safety concerns about Townline Road.
Suffolk County will move forward with building a 30,000-square-foot truck inspection station on a currently vacant parcel of land between Commack Road and Crooked Hill Road. It will be located across from Kohl's and Home Depot.
"Everyone knows the traffic situation up and down Commack Road is challenging. Enforcement is difficult because you have motor carrier enforcement, but they have had difficulty pulling guys over," Stern said.
Stern said the truck inspection station will give Suffolk County police's motor carrier unit a safe location to pull over commercial 18-wheelers over for full inspection without backing up traffic on Commack Road/Townline Road. It eliminates the risk of injury to the police officer and truck driver.
"If you have so much as a broken tail light, they will write you up in a big way. We will all see that when the new location is built," Stern said.
The county work order has already been issued for the $500,000 construction project, but it may be delayed due to Hurrican Sandy cleanup, according to Stern.
The Commack Civic Association has been actively seeking to restrict, possibly eliminate, commercial 18-wheeler trucks from traveling on Townline Road to reach the so-called Kings Parks industrial area since 2010.
Residents have raised safety concerns about 18-wheeler trucks traveling on the roadway, which narrows to one lane in each direction in select areas. The northern portion of the route brings trucks through residential neighborhoods, directly past both Commack High School and North Ridge Elementary School.
Smithtown Town officials approved laws restricting commercial trucks weighing more than 5,000 pounds from traveling along Townline Road from Jericho Turnpike north to Pulaski Road in September 2011. Previously, the town had only restricted truck traffic on Townline Road from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Yet, these new stringent restrictions have proven difficult to enforce. The southbound lanes of Townline Road were under the Town of Huntington's supervision, who did not place restrictions against trucks. Recently, the Town of Huntington's Highway Department brought a lawsuit against Suffolk County over ownership and New York State courts determined it to be a county road.
Stern said the county has tried to appeal the courts decision several times, knowing residents would not want it to be a county road. Townline Road would need to be widened and straightened out to meet federal road requirements. Furthermore, there are no restrictions against 18-wheeler trucks on county roadways.
Suffolk County officials are in negotiations with both Town of Huntington and Town of Smithtown representatives to work out who the road will belong to, who will maintain it and who will pay the costs, according to Stern. He said the county is meeting resistance from Huntington.
Meanwhile, the Commack Civic Association has collected more than 300 signatures from local residents demanding Town of Huntington to take action in caring for Commack Road/Townline Road, and impose trucking restrictions.
Commack residents plan to bring the petition to Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone at the town's Dec. 18 board meeting.