A major route to Point Lookout, Lido Beach and Long Beach is to be closed early next year for work as state highway officials make repairs and undertake maintenance on two drawbridges.
The New York State Department of Transportation is in the middle of a two-year construction project on the Loop Parkway Bridge off Meadowbrook Parkway, one of the primary routes to the barrier island. Highway workers are also making repairs on the Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge connecting to Ocean Parkway and Jones Beach.
State highway and local officials said the work is long overdue on the 80-year-old drawbridges that serve as a heavily trafficked thoroughfare to the barrier island and opens access to boats and fishing vessels in the bayside waterways and channels. The last major work done on the bridges was completed from 1992 to 1994.
“This is a significant project on two important Long Island bridges,” Department of Transportation spokesman Stephen Canzoneri said.
Thomas Doheny, Hempstead commissioner of conservation and waterways, said the bridges have constantly been in motion since they were built in 1934.
“It’s such an important bridge for navigation and vehicular traffic,” Doheny said. “It serves many daily commuters and is an important access point for police and the general public. It’s also been a crucial evacuation route in hurricanes and severe storms.”
Highway workers started the project in September using a $22 million state grant secured by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who said “the Loop Parkway Bridge is in serious need of repair, and the time is ripe for an overhaul.” Transportation officials said major work and lane closures are being undertaken during cold weather to minimize the effect on boat and vehicle traffic in he summer tourism seasons.
Periodic single-lane closures on Loop Parkway could begin in the coming weeks between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., transportation officials said during a presentation to the Point Lookout Civic Association.
The major closures will come in March when the Loop Parkway bridge will be shut down from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. March 5-7 and March 12-13.
The Loop Parkway bridge will close for the entire weekend March 9-11 and March 23-25. Drivers can access the island via Long Beach Road through Island Park or on the Atlantic Beach toll bridge. Closures and detour routes will be listed on overhead and roadway signs.
Highway officials said work on the Meadowbrook Bridge will not be scheduled at the same time.
Crews will work from barges to make mechanical, electrical and structural upgrades to the bridges. Highway workers will replace steel piers, spans and frames of the bridges, besides adding new motors, brakes and lighting to operate the drawbridges. Work is expected to be finished in spring 2019, according to the Department of Transportation.
Point Lookout Civic Association president Matthew Brennan said the repairs to the bridges are expected to prevent any delays in opening and closures on the bridge for the next 20 years. Nassau County police have issued recent advisories for the Loop Parkway bridge getting stuck upright for brief periods.
“I know people are getting stuck at the bridges more often, and people on the barrier island understand the need of infrastructure, given the evacuation during Sandy,” Brennan said.