Drawbridge at Bayville Bridge remains closed to repairs

Bridge Marine owner Richard Valicenti says the closure Bridge Marine owner Richard Valicenti says the closure of the drawbridge for repairs on the Bayville Bridge is hurting his business. He visited the site on April 10, 2014. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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What Nassau County describes as a routine maintenance repair has prevented the Bayville Bridge from opening to vessels for 10 days and is expected to keep the drawbridge down for the rest of this week.

While the work has not affected motorists, or the filming for the TV series "The Blacklist" on the span last week, it is presenting a problem for the owner of a local marina and potentially for some boaters.

"A concern was detected in a brake-lock motor during the county's annual preseason maintenance check" on April 4 and the drawbridge has remained down since then, said county public works department spokesman Michael Martino. The motor is one of four that hold the deck open to let boats pass underneath.

Richard Valicenti, owner of Bridge Marine, located on Mill Neck Creek by the north end of the span in Bayville, said the closing was creating a hardship.

He said he needs to place moorings out in Oyster Bay for the village and also work on dock projects for homeowners. "And I can't get my work boats out under the bridge at high tide, and I need to do the work at high tide," he said. Valicenti's larger boats can pass under the bridge only when the tide is at most half full or the span is open.

Valicenti questioned whether the damage being repaired was caused by electrical components being submerged or hit with salt spray by superstorm Sandy in October 2012. "I don't think they replaced them after the storm," he said. "They should've replaced them then."

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Martino insisted the repair work has nothing to do with Sandy.

"The motor was not submerged during Sandy," he said. "It was checked thoroughly after the storm, as were the other three motors, and found to be in perfect working condition. Normal wear and tear on the bridge necessitates this type of maintenance."

The bridge was out of commission after Sandy until last April because the storm submerged the electronic controls and backup generator under the span. A replacement generator was subsequently placed on a new concrete pad on higher ground next to the road.

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Christa Relyea, office manager for the Oyster Bay-based Frank M. Flower & Sons shellfishing company, said the closure isn't a "hardship at this point because this isn't the time of year when we need to get in and out" of the creek to reach the company's hatchery and boatyard.

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