There will be a major disruption on the Long Island Rail Road next weekend when service is suspended between Hicksville and Mineola as demolition begins on the Ellison Avenue Bridge, which runs above the LIRR tracks in Westbury, the railroad said.

Passengers on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches on May 16-17 will have to take shuttle buses or find another way to travel.

The railroad said an estimated 40,000 passengers face significant delays with travel times that are 40 to 60 minutes longer than normal on the two branches.

"We regret the inconvenience, but for obvious safety reasons, demolition of the bridge requires a complete suspension of train service between Hicksville and Mineola," LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski said in a statement.

"We are working hard to minimize the impact by providing bus service and rerouting trains. But everyone should consult the special May 16-17 weekend branch timetables to pinpoint the revised departure and arrival times of their trains and allow for plenty of extra travel time," he said.

The two-lane bridge, with pedestrian walkways on both sides, was built in 1941. It replaced an overpass that dated to the late 19th century.

Ellison Avenue is a major north-south road through the village, carrying thousands of cars a week. The road has been closed to automobile traffic since April 15.

The $17.5 million project includes erecting a new bridge and installing sidewalks, curbs, fencing. It is scheduled to open in June 2016.

The railroad suggested that riders on the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branch lines consider using the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Port Washington, Oyster Bay or West Hempstead branches during the weekend.

Those branches will experience "minor scheduled adjustments," the railroad said.

The railroad said timetable changes for next weekend were posted this past weekend on its website,

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