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North Shore Residents Worry About Safety, Economy With Long-Term Roadway Repair Project

BAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Residents on Long Island's North Shore face a long road ahead to full recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

The flooding and high winds collapsed the already crumbling West Shore Road. The harbor-side roadway was closed down in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Officials now say the repair will take nine months to complete. With the roadway closure, residents have temporarily lost the unique and vital link to Bayville, Oyster Bay Hamlet and Centre Island.

Officials said the road closure poses a safety threat since an extra crush of cars will spill onto unlit, winding roads with no shoulder.

"10,000 cars travel on West Shore Road a day. That traffic is now all rerouted through the back roads," Margaret Marchand with the Bayville Chamber of Commerce told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan on Monday.

Bayville residents said they are worried about the detour delaying first responders, and they said they fear an uptick in crashes by drivers unfamiliar with the back roads.

"People are getting lost. They have no idea which way to go except go this way and find out they went the wrong way," Bayville resident Bill Bradley said.

Resident Dave McGovern said he was almost run down when he was out for a walk recently.

"'Road closed' signs, they don't know what to do. They are not really paying attention, they are watching their GPS while they are driving," he told McLogan.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano approved $9 million for immediate repairs. The initial estimate to fix the roadway was 18 months but he said he got it whittled down to nine months.

"This is an emergency, it's being treated as an emergency and all efforts are going towards it on an emergency basis," Mangano said.

Still, with no through traffic, business owners who are already struggling in the aftermath of Sandy said they are worried that come the start of summer, they will lose out on the beach traffic that the economy depends on since there will be no easy access to the beaches.

"Right now, the nine-month schedule that has been publicized is going to go through the summer," resident John Taylor told CBS 2's McLogan.

North Shore residents worried about safety and the loss of business are pressing politicians to finish repairs before the summer tourism season begins.

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