Busy Smithtown bridge to be closed for repairs

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A narrow, two-lane bridge in Smithtown is slated to close for about three weeks in both directions this month during an $80,000 concrete maintenance project by Suffolk County.

The Landing Avenue Bridge, which spans the Nissequogue River, is a major connector from nearby residences to Main Street. The bridge is to close July 24 as part of a three-month construction project to address spalling -- or cracking -- concrete, said Suffolk County Commissioner of Public Works Gilbert Anderson.

About a third of the deck -- the surface of the bridge over which cars drive -- will have to be removed, down to the reinforcing bars, and the concrete replaced, said Anderson.

"That concrete has to cure," he said. "That's why we have to keep the bridge closed. . . . You don't want vibrations from the cars nearby disturbing the curing of the concrete."

Minor repairs to the abutment or structure will also be addressed during the project, he said.

The bridge, built in 1928, last underwent major work in 1987.

"Concrete can last 50 years," Anderson said, adding that "generally 30 years" is a target period between maintenance to repair cracking that occurs in concrete due to weather, traffic volume and weight.

"The existing structure is safe at the posted weight limits," said Suffolk County spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. "The spall repair is part of the normal maintenance on concrete structures."

The suggested detour route is to take Edgewood Avenue to Route 25A, then take either Oakside Road or Rose Street to return to Landing Avenue, Anderson said.

Mitchell Crowley, Smithtown's traffic safety director, said that the closure will be "a bit difficult . . . traffic-wise" and that "people will be inconvenienced for a short period of time."

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"As long as the public is educated and that the maintenance and protection of traffic is maintained, there will be a minimal impact," he said.

This season was "optimal for bridge construction," said Anderson.

"It's the driest, it's the warmest, and right now, you don't have school in session," he said. "We don't want to hinder and impact buses taking kids back and forth from school."

Some residents who live near the bridge said the closure was a minor inconvenience.

Barbara Italiano, of Smithtown, said she uses the bridge often and that it is "highly trafficked."

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While Italiano said the detour route is "out of the way," she said, "It's a small bridge, so it has to be repaired."

Nanette Krockta, of Smithtown, said she hoped officials consider widening the bridge. "It's way too narrow. People have clipped my rearview mirror," said Krockta. "With a truck and a car at the same time, it's scary."

Baird-Streeter said the county is "not considering widening the bridge. . . . It's never been brought to our attention."

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