KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The ambitious idea to dig a tunnel or build a bridge across the Long Island Sound has floated around for 80 years – and it is again being resuscitated.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some people call it a pipe dream. But others advise keeping an open mind.
Going west to go north is life on the cul-de-sac that is Long Island. So frustrated drivers say they are intrigued that a new way to get off is under construction.
“It would save a lot of people a lot of headaches in traffic,” one driver said.
“I would not have to drive through New York City to go up to New England,” another said.
“The ferry is nice and all, but being able to get to Connecticut from Long Island quicker,” a third said.
A plan to build an 18-mile bridge from Orient Point to Connecticut was first floated in 1937, but fizzled.
It was revived in 1973 with a proposed bridge from Oyster Bay in Nassau County to Rye in Westchester County. That idea is not dead in the water, but New York State’s new feasibility study suggests a bridge-tunnel combination across the Long Island Sound.
It would extend from Kings Park off the Sunken Meadow to Bridgeport or even Devon, Connecticut.
“There would be employment opportunities. There’d be an enhancement on our real estate values. It would provide safety for our region in terms of another way to get off the island in case of emergency,” said Kevin Law of the Long Island Association.
The plan is costly — $10 billion to $55 billion.
Dennis Lyons of Kings Park said the plan was pie in the sky.
“It’s been years ago they did it, and they wanted to do it in Syosset and it never happened. The price of a tunnel and a bridge now is way out of line,” he said.
Crossing over the Sound could begin in Kings Park. The Shtanko family runs the local bakery.
“I think it will be better for business. I just – I don’t think nobody wants the park to be destroyed. That’s the problem,” Mr. Shtanko said.
The park is the Sunken Meadow, where the causeway structure would begin.
“The state is $60 billion in debt, and they want to build a tunnel-bridge situation to Connecticut – which they don’t want it – across an iconic park,” saud Suffolk County Legislator Robert Trotta. “It’s just ludicrous.”
Residents worry about life near a tunnel, and the environmental impact. Proponents ask people to keep an open mind, as there is a dire need for another way off Long Island.
Proponents also say a crossing over or under the Sound is essential to reducing travel time and road congestion, as well as improving air quality and freight movement.