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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Acting Chair and Chief Executive Officer Janno Lieber and MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng last week reopened Willis Avenue in downtown Mineola, New York, unveiling a roadway that passes underneath two new railroad bridges.
The grade crossings were the seventh and eighth of the eight to be eliminated along the MTA LIRR Main Line Corridor in under two years as part of the project, MTA officials said in a news release.
The reopening of Willis Avenue in downtown Mineola includes a roadway that passes under the new railbridges. This underpass replaces a pair of grade crossings that for decades had created nuisances to nearby residents with the sounding of train horns and crossing bells, and to motorists who had to experience traffic backups with the closure of crossing gates, MTA officials said.
Including Willis Avenue, six crossings have reopened to traffic since Sept. 6, 2019, when crews reopened Urban Avenue in New Cassel as an underpass. In New Hyde Park, crews reopened Covert Avenue on Oct. 12, 2019, and New Hyde Park Road on Aug. 24, 2020. In Westbury, crews reopened School Street on Nov. 13, 2020. Two crossings, at South 12th Street in New Hyde Park, and Main Street in Mineola, were closed on Oct. 24, 2020, and Feb. 27, 2021, respectively. Crews are building a pedestrian underpass at South 12th Street, and a pedestrian overpass at Main Street.
The Willis Avenue crossing elimination is unique because it encompasses two separate crossings. The newly built underpass takes motorists underneath the tracks of the Main Line and the Oyster Bay Branch.