Safety improvements set for LI Expressway

August 8, 2012

Road shoulders on parts of the Long Island Expressway between exits 34 and 41 in Nassau will be closed outside of rush hour periods Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday to install reflectors on the road edge and behind the guiderail in a further safety improvement. 

The upgrade is the latest of several being made to the more-than-7-mile stretch in which 25 police officers have been struck since 2001 while conducting roadside stops. Last year, in Nassau's first line-of-duty death since 1993, county highway Patrolman Michael Califano was killed by a truck driver who dozed off at the wheel, striking Califano's patrol car as he was conducting a stop. 

Califano's death led to a federal safety assessment on the stretch of the expressway between the two exits, resulting in a raft of suggestions for safety improvements. Already there have been changes to road markings, with upright markers added in the white-striped exit and entrance ramp areas, which prevents vehicles pulling into those spaces. 

Last week extra audible rumble strips were added to the roadside both eastbound and westbound. Ten new emergency pull-offs are to be constructed -- five each way -- four of them by year's end, according to state transportation department officials.

The shoulder work beginning Thursday will provide added reflectors to help raise driver awareness of where the roadside ends, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Eileen Peters said. 

The work will be conducted in off-peak hours, from around 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.

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