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LIRR Commuters Concerned Over Crumbling Parking Garage

TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island Rail Road commuters are demanding to know why a new parking garage in the Town of Oyster Bay is already crumbling, with large cracks appearing in the ceiling.

Town officials say the garage is safe, but workers have quickly started shoring up some of the cracks.

As CBS2's Emily Smith reports, the garage was built just six years ago at a total cost of $65 million. The four level Town of Oyster Bay parking garage is meant to ease the hassle for town residents trying to find parking at the congested Hicksville train station, but nearly 80 spots are now blocked off because of several large cracks running across the ceiling in the garage's lower levels.

In the past week, workers have begun installing tall metal beams to support the cracked ceilings. Shinu Chacko is a town resident and an electrical engineer with some tough questions for town leaders.

"How are we going to pay for this?" he asked. "What are going to be the repairs that are required to fix the garage? How much is it going to cost? We've already paid $50,000 to have an engineer come down here and inspect the site."

Newly appointed town supervisor Joseph Saladino says an engineer's preliminary inspection shows that "the garage is structurally sound" and in "no danger of collapse."

Cracks aren't the only issue; the elevators are frequently broken or out of service, and many drivers have complained about a mysterious and damaging ceiling leak.

"There's some kind of stain coming out of the ceiling that's landing on cars as well," Old Bethpage resident Joel Epstein said. "I don't even go in those spots."

Officials say they will pay for any damage to vehicles parked in the garage, but many residents are demanding legal action.

"The town should go back after the contractor or the engineering firm that is responsible," Chacko said.

Town officials say they will take appropriate action once a new engineering report is completed. Meanwhile, frustrated commuters say the blocked off parking spots often leave the garage full during rush hour.

Local leaders say they will find alternate parking for commuters, and the contractor that built the garage says the town signed off on it and is responsible for any maintenance issues since their warranty has run out.

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