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Feb 17, 2010 10:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Gregor digs in, and out, as new Southampton Town highway superintendent

Feb 17, 2010 10:59 AM

“We have several capital projects in the hopper that I’m quite proud to say we’re going to pull off this year,” he said. “The unfortunate part is that we might not be able to do as much paving as we like.”

Town Board members listened to Mr. Gregor’s request for more money last week but made no promises of allocating additional funding. Prior to that meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst said that investing in the town’s roads is important. “My personal feeling is that we need to work on infrastructure,” she said. “We need to turn our attention to our own infrastructure needs. I’m interested to know what he is thinking.”

The Red Creek Road project should be completed before Memorial Day, Mr. Gregor said. That comes much to the relief of Leo Somma, who lives near the dangerous bend that he’s nicknamed “Dead Man’s Curve.” That sharp turn has caused so many accidents, some fatal, that his wife, Beth, a nurse, keeps a first aid kit in the house to treat injured drivers victimized by the bend.

“I was really glad to see that, as soon as Alex took office, this was one of the highest priorities on his list,” Mr. Somma said, noting that he met with Mr. Gregor soon after he took office. “It’s going take a big chunk out of his highway budget, but he’s going to make it happen.”

The Red Creek Road project went out to bid this week. It is actually the first Highway Department project that will go out to bid under a new system announced the first week of February. Instead of bids being available for public review at the highway department office in Hampton Bays, they will be available and publicly opened at the town clerk’s office in Southampton. This restructuring will allow more transparency, and make it easier for the clerk to keep track of the records, Mr. Gregor said.

So far, Mr. Gregor has also proven himself to be an eager and enthusiastic highway superintendent, especially when it comes to his department’s often-criticized leaf pickup program, said Southampton Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski.

Officials acknowledge that there are no easy fixes for the program, a system that involves people raking their leaves and leaving twigs and brush, either bagged or loose, on the shoulders of the town’s roads, where they are eventually collected by Highway Department crews. Critics of the program note that the loose leaves can pose a hazard to drivers when they are not immediately collected, and snowstorms can delay their pickup for days, if not weeks or even months.

Mr. Gregor said he had a few ideas on how to fix the program, including possibly using recycled paper bags in which residents living in the unincorporated areas of Southampton Town can place their loose leaves. He plans to present some ideas, and listen to what people say during a forum to be held in late March on the subject. An exact date for the forum had not been finalized as of earlier this week.

The new highway superintendent estimates that his workers spend about 40 percent of their time collecting leaves and brush, and says that their time could be better spent fixing potholes and unclogging drains that flood roads.

“Over the years, the leaf and brush program has become unwieldy,” Mr. Gregor said. “We’re going to have this forum, hear input from the community. We’re going to make changes.”

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Go alex!
By rabbit (65), watermill on Feb 17, 10 11:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
So happy that our hard-working civil servants found the time and money to erect massive signs with their names on them... No wonder our town is broke.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Feb 17, 10 12:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you look closely at the sign you'll notice that it is not a new sign, but that a board with the new superintendent's name having been placed over the old. I doubt this is the reason for our town being broke.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Feb 17, 10 12:21 PM
littleplains seems like u got nothing better to do then complain. What about the roads during the storm how did they look? They looked pretty clean and well taken care of this last storm but all you have to complain about is a sign. And maybe you should go check the sign out in person because its not a whole new sign only the name is different. Know your stats before u open your mouth
By fatty2002 (2), Hampton Bays on Feb 20, 10 8:01 AM
The Highway Superintendent is a tough job for any man but Mr. Gregor has the chops to do it well - and in fact will probably be a better managed and more efficiently run operation than before.
By barberosa (39), Watermill on Feb 17, 10 3:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
i think the roads were very clean after the last few snows but I am impressed with the handling of the major snow/ice conditions in BH that were usualty ignored. Fine job new Mr. Supt
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 17, 10 6:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Please keep the good job!!!
I will never forget the last big snow fall last December it took 4 days to clean some roads...years before I used to hear the truck working at night making sure roads were clean last December was HORRIBLE!!!!!!
By Bel (86), southampton on Feb 17, 10 8:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
Alex Gregor is a good and decent man. Take care of business Alex!
By Spanky (1), Southold on Feb 17, 10 10:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've met Alex years ago and he is a good man.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Feb 18, 10 9:11 AM
Alex is doing a fine job, keep it up.
By Talbot77 (53), southampton on Feb 18, 10 10:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
I was dazzled at how good the plowing was in my Mt. Misery section of Sag Harbor. It was done quickly, often and well. The drivewyas were not blocked, the plowing was prompt AND well-thought-out. Last December the service was hopeless. My thanks and congratulations for a job well done this time.
As a volunteer driver for the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons, I could not believe how in 24 hours after the snow, there was no road I could not travel. All best to all of you.
By Cairnterriot (8), southampton on Feb 18, 10 6:32 PM
The ones who really deserve the credit are the workers who are out there driving the trucks for hours on end. A great job done by all.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Feb 21, 10 11:38 AM
1 member liked this comment