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Public Shows Approval for Multimillion Dollar Trail Expansion

Few concerns are raised over the upcoming additions to the Setauket/Port Jefferson Multi-Use Path.

Expansion of the Greenway Trail connecting Setauket and Port Jefferson Station is expected to start in the spring of 2012 and could cost around $5 million in federal funding, Department of Transportation officials said Thursday.

More than 100 residents attended a lengthy, no-holds-barred question-and-answer session Thursday night with members of the DOT regarding the proposed expansion of the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Multi-Use Path, commonly known as the Greenway Trail.

The trail expansion will piggyback the first phase of the project, which was completed in the spring of 2009. For Phase II, the DOT will expand the existing 1.2-mile trail with a segment connecting Route 25A at Limroy Lane in Setauket to Gnarled Hollow Road, and another section stretching to the Hallock Avenue park-and-ride lot in Port Jefferson Station. The completed trail will run 3.3 miles and is expected to cost between $4.5 million and $5 million dollars of federal money, according to assistant regional director Patricia Audinot.

Audinot said attention is being paid to the environmental impact trail construction would have on the surrounding areas.

“Most of the pathway is a heavily dense, wooded area and the DOT owns that land," she said. "We’ve gone through to see the trees in the area and we’re trying to minimize the number of trees that need to be taken down. We’re also taking invasive species [of plant life] out and putting in more landscaping that’s more in tune with Long Island.”

The anticipated start date for Phase II is spring 2012, with an expected completion date of spring 2013 – an announcement which pleased many in attendance, including Port Jefferson resident Dave Coggins.

“I’m very pleased with their timetable for completion," Coggins said. "Our family is really excited about this project and we’re all avid runners, walkers and bikers, so it’s going to be like a little bit of peaceful paradise in our backyard. I know a lot of people in this community and the surrounding towns that will get a lot of use out of this trail.”

A few in attendance raised concerns regarding drainage issues for the trail, although they appeared to be satisfied with the answers given by project manager Guy Augustin, who pointed out exactly where the drainage runoffs would be placed.

One homeowner whose property line sits quite close to the trail had an issue with an elevation feature, which is designed to preserve trees but could affect visibility around his property.

“They’re raising the height of the elevation of the ground, so an area of the path is going to be approximately 40 feet from my house, so it concerns me," the homeowner said. "But other than that, I think everything else is going to be okay.”

Others expressed concerns over the large number of young children residing in homes along the path’s route and the constant speeding of vehicles down Allyson Place, which intersects part of the trail. The DOT said four all-way stop signs will be installed to address this issue.

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