A plan to replace a bridge over the Nissequogue River...

A plan to replace a bridge over the Nissequogue River on Landing Avenue in Smithtown, built in 1928, has some concerned it could affect the environment. Credit: John Roca

A project to replace a nearly century-old bridge at Landing Avenue over the Nissequogue River in Smithtown has some residents and a legislator concerned about how the construction work could affect a popular nearby park.

The Suffolk County Legislature in April passed a resolution authorizing $2 million for the county's Department of Public Works to begin planning to build a new bridge in the location near Peter Nowick Sr. Memorial Park. The money will be used to hire an engineering consultant for the project.

County officials found the old bridge’s concrete deck slab and substructure elements to be “severely deteriorated” and in need of replacement, while the bridge itself is narrow — with substandard 10-foot lane widths — and lacks sidewalks and shoulders, according to Michael Martino, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Edward P. Romaine.

Finished in 1928, the Landing Avenue Bridge “is past its useful life,” Martino added. The bridge underwent $80,000 in repairs in 2013 to address cracked concrete after other maintenance work in 1987, Newsday previously reported.

The county wants to replace the structure by building a new bridge next to it. Such a plan would allow the existing span to remain open during construction and eliminate detours, according to Suffolk officials.

County officials said the project is in the preliminary stage and several design alternatives are being investigated.

Martino said the bridge design is being performed in-house with an engineering consultant being sought for the environmental portion of the project through the recently approved spending. 

Martino said a new bridge would be wider and have shoulders and a sidewalk aimed at improving vehicular and pedestrian safety. 

Suffolk officials expect to fund the project with federal funds, with a 20% match from the county, according to Martino. He said it was too early to give a cost estimate but estimated construction would start between 2030 and 2031 and take roughly two years.

Some residents who live near the park say they're concerned with how construction of a new bridge could affect the park’s environment.

Don Born, 72, of Smithtown, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1980s, said the park is a “casual, little community park” and he sometimes has lunch there.

Born said he believes the county should provide more information on the project to the public and worries it might cause more traffic in the area and damage nearby wetlands.

Diane Munnich, 66, who also lives near the park, said many people bring their children to the park, which also is a spot for canoeing and kayaking, and she “would hate to see that taken away.”

Suffolk Legis. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said in a recent interview he believes the April resolution should have been tabled since he wanted more information on how construction would affect the park's environment. Englebright voted against the resolution after making an unsuccessful motion to table it. 

Martino said the county is aware of concerns about the project and will provide opportunities for community input and follow other regulatory guidelines.

“We hear what they're saying and they will have their say, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. It's still far off in the future,” Martino said. “The bridge is in terrible shape and has been for some time. This is a step toward making the community safer.”

A project to replace a nearly century-old bridge at Landing Avenue over the Nissequogue River in Smithtown has some residents and a legislator concerned about how the construction work could affect a popular nearby park.

The Suffolk County Legislature in April passed a resolution authorizing $2 million for the county's Department of Public Works to begin planning to build a new bridge in the location near Peter Nowick Sr. Memorial Park. The money will be used to hire an engineering consultant for the project.

County officials found the old bridge’s concrete deck slab and substructure elements to be “severely deteriorated” and in need of replacement, while the bridge itself is narrow — with substandard 10-foot lane widths — and lacks sidewalks and shoulders, according to Michael Martino, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Edward P. Romaine.

Finished in 1928, the Landing Avenue Bridge “is past its useful life,” Martino added. The bridge underwent $80,000 in repairs in 2013 to address cracked concrete after other maintenance work in 1987, Newsday previously reported.

The county wants to replace the structure by building a new bridge next to it. Such a plan would allow the existing span to remain open during construction and eliminate detours, according to Suffolk officials.

County officials said the project is in the preliminary stage and several design alternatives are being investigated.

Martino said the bridge design is being performed in-house with an engineering consultant being sought for the environmental portion of the project through the recently approved spending. 

Martino said a new bridge would be wider and have shoulders and a sidewalk aimed at improving vehicular and pedestrian safety. 

Suffolk officials expect to fund the project with federal funds, with a 20% match from the county, according to Martino. He said it was too early to give a cost estimate but estimated construction would start between 2030 and 2031 and take roughly two years.

Some residents who live near the park say they're concerned with how construction of a new bridge could affect the park’s environment.

Don Born, 72, of Smithtown, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1980s, said the park is a “casual, little community park” and he sometimes has lunch there.

Born said he believes the county should provide more information on the project to the public and worries it might cause more traffic in the area and damage nearby wetlands.

Diane Munnich, 66, who also lives near the park, said many people bring their children to the park, which also is a spot for canoeing and kayaking, and she “would hate to see that taken away.”

Suffolk Legis. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said in a recent interview he believes the April resolution should have been tabled since he wanted more information on how construction would affect the park's environment. Englebright voted against the resolution after making an unsuccessful motion to table it. 

Martino said the county is aware of concerns about the project and will provide opportunities for community input and follow other regulatory guidelines.

“We hear what they're saying and they will have their say, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. It's still far off in the future,” Martino said. “The bridge is in terrible shape and has been for some time. This is a step toward making the community safer.”

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