HELD UP THROUGH HUNTINGTON: Throughout the 1960s, the Babylon-Northport Expressway remained as an active proposal on state, county and town maps. During these years, the New York State Department of Public Works (NYSDPW) purchased rights-of-way as far north as NY 25A for the expressway. By the end of the decade, the state had purchased more than 40 percent of the right-of-way.
North of the existing section in Babylon and West Islip, the Babylon-Northport Expressway was to continue as follows:
Through North Babylon, the expressway was to be routed along Samparoams Creek (Babylon-Islip town border). There was to have been a cloverleaf interchange with the Southern State Parkway.
In Deer Park, the expressway was to veer northwest just south of Grand Boulevard. There may have been an interchange with Long Island Avenue near the intersection of Commack Road (Suffolk CR 4).
Between Long Island Avenue in Deer Park and Otsego Park in Dix Hills, NY 231 was to continue along the right-of-way of Commack Road (Suffolk CR 4) and the western boundary of the former Edgewood State Hospital.
Through Dix Hills, the Babylon-Northport Expressway was to be routed parallel to, and about one-half mile east of Carll's Straight Path. Cloverleaf interchanges were to have been constructed with the Long Island Expressway (I-495) near the existing parking areas, and with the Northern State Parkway just east of the existing EXIT 42. Leaving Dix Hills, the expressway was to have an interchange with Jericho Turnpike (NY 25) near the intersections of East Deer Park Road (Suffolk CR 66) and Elwood Road (Suffolk CR 10).
Continuing north along the Greenlawn-East Northport border, NY 231 was to be routed parallel to, and about one-half mile west of Elwood Road (Suffolk CR 10). It was to cross Pulaski Road (Suffolk CR 11) just west of Stony Hollow Road; there may have been an interchange at this location.
For the final section in Northport, the expressway was to veer northeast to the intersection of Fort Salonga Road (NY 25A) and Elwood Road (Suffolk CR 10). There was to have been an interchange at this location.
By 1972, the cost of the expressway had risen to $50 million. Throughout the 1970s, state and county officials continued to recommend its construction between North Babylon and its proposed terminus in Northport, though officials in the Town of Huntington were less receptive. In 1981, the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission called for a downsizing of the NY 231 project as follows:
Studies should be conducted to determine if an at-grade expressway should be constructed between the Northern State Parkway and NY 25A west of Elmont Road (Suffolk CR 10), in order to relieve congestion and correct safety problems along this north-south corridor.
Under pressure from residents along the proposed route in the Town of Huntington, state officials formally killed the proposed expressway extension in 1982. The NYSDOT sold the rights-of-way for the expressway on a parcel-by-parcel basis between the late 1980s and the late 1990s.
Paul Sclichtman, frequent contributor to nycroads.com and misc.transport.road, remembered the controversy surrounding this unbuilt highway as follows:
The Babylon-Northport Expressway was most controversial to say the least. The land on the Northport terminus of the expressway is only starting to be developed. The road was supposed to end at the current intersection of NY 25A and Elwood Road (Suffolk CR 10). As a result, the land around that corner was never developed. Now there is a car wash on the old LIRR right-of-way (bitterly opposed by neighbors) and there is a self-storage building on the southeast corner. Similar development on the old right-of-way on Jericho Turnpike (NY 25) between Elwood and East Deer Park Road (Suffolk CR 66) is also new.
After the state decided it wasn't worth the trouble, the county considered building a highway (in the style of Nicolls Road / Suffolk CR 97), but they got grief as well. The Town of Huntington has been very hostile to any county highway improvements, despite the hideous congestion on roads such as Elwood Road and Pulaski Road (Suffolk CR 11).
When I was very young, the trip from the Northern State Parkway to Northport was mostly rural, only one traffic light along the way through sod and potato farms. Now when I go to Northport, I go up the Sunken Meadow State Parkway and double back.
More on the aborted section of the NY 231 expressway by Andrew Notarian:
Until 1978, my family lived at 31 Elwood Road, about a quarter mile south of NY 25A in Northport. The houses across the street from mine were purchased by the state and torn down to make room for the Babylon-Northport Expressway. I assume much of the route was planned to go along the LIRR spur that went to the original Northport railroad station (in the Village of Northport), and later on the lumber yards near there. The tracks were eventually torn up during the 1980's and the right-of-way was sold between 25A and Elwood Road to build a car wash. The lot on the corner of 25A and Elwood had industrial zoning, and there used to be a home heating oil yard with two large green tanks. Because of the industrial zoning, they were able to put up a three- or four-story public storage monstrosity. The corner across Elwood Road there is just a sump, and some new houses were built behind it over the past 20 years. This must have been the land for the interchange.
IMPROVING THE EXISTING DEER PARK AVENUE: Under the "LITP 2000" long-range plan, the NYSDOT plans to widen the existing Deer Park Avenue from the northern terminus of the Babylon-Northport Expressway in North Babylon north to the Northern State Parkway in Dix Hills (bringing NY 231 to three travel lanes in each direction), and provide additional left-turn lanes. The proposed Long Island Rapid Commute (LIRC) articulated vehicles would utilize the third travel lane exclusively during peak periods.
THE NORTHPORT-NORWALK BRIDGE? In the mid-1960s, there were plans to extend the Babylon-Northport Expressway even further north - into Connecticut. An early cross-Sound bridge proposal called for an extension of the expressway through Asharoken and Eaton's Neck. From Eaton's Neck, a bridge would then be constructed to Norwalk, Connecticut, providing a direct connection to the US 7 Expressway and the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95). Because the area was "intensely developed with homes" and the terrain was "not conducive to highway construction," the Northport-Norwalk bridge alternative was among the first to be eliminated.