Snow, ice making things treacherous on Long Island

N.J. Burkett reports from Northport.
January 22, 2014 3:36:32 PM PST
Ice on the roads is making for dangerous travel on Long Island, and commuters are being urged to avoid driving if possible as a major winter storm dumps inches of snow across the area.

Long Island and Suffolk County in particular bore the brunt of the storm, with most areas seeing at least a foot of accumulation. The east end of the island was also the last place to see snow as the storm moved out of the area.

A seven-car pileup stalled traffic on the Wantagh Parkway Tuesday morning, with the northbound lanes being shut down following the wreck near Old Country Road in Westbury, but that was just the beginning of the troubles for drivers.

Several townships declared states of emergency, and by midafternoon many highways across the region were clogged with vehicles moving at a snail's pace across snow-covered pavement.

Pat Audinot, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, justified the decision not to close the Long Island Expressway or other major roadways on the island. Governor Andrew Cuomo had ordered the LIE and other state roads closed during another snowstorm earlier this month, but Audinot said that although roadways were crowded, they were still considered passable.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that because the storm was spread out over 12 to 14 hours, snowplow drivers had enough time to keep up with the snow and get things ready for Wednesday.

But he warned residents to monitor media updates and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Those on the roads should exercise extreme caution.

MacArthur Airport announced it had cancelled flights after 3:15 p.m due to the weather conditions.

The Long Island Rail Road is running on a weekend schedule, with roughly 60 percent of its weekday trains, and all fares are off-peak. There will be no train service on the West Hempstead line and also on the Greenport lines east of Ronkonkoma. Bus service will be provided on those lines.

Because of weather-related problems affecting ticket vending machines, extra fees to buy tickets aboard trains are waived.

The LIRR says it is adding eight trains to the Wednesday evening schedule.

The LIRR says the eight eastbound trains will be added to the schedule of trains leaving Penn Station between 3:32 and 6:09.

The railroad says it plans to resume regular weekday service on Thursday.

Because of the severe cold temperatures, LIRR station waiting rooms will remain open around-the-clock through Friday afternoon.

Riders are advised to monitor for service status.