The construction bids for the Hospital Road Bridge project were opened by the New York State Department of Transportation on Nov. 4, 2021. The contract was awarded to DeFoe Corporation of Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Dec. 3, 2021, for approximately $22.8 million. New York State currently estimates the ground-breaking to take place this spring and all construction work will be completed by the end of 2023.
In 2016, a funding agreement was reached for a $26 million project to widen and make major repairs to Hospital Road Bridge. Eighty percent of the project is federally funded, which was made possible by the infusion of federal money to the First Congressional District from the SAFE Bridges Act of 2015.
Congressman Lee Zeldin introduced the Safe Bridges Act with congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) on July 22, 2015. As a majority member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the time, Zeldin successfully got the Safe Bridges Act included as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 4, 2015. Zeldin’s legislation directed tens of millions in federal dollars to infrastructure fixes in Suffolk County, including the rebuilding of Hospital Road Bridge.
“Hospital Road Bridge is a critical artery for NY-1 residents and a vital lifeline for law enforcement and first responders traveling to Long Island Community Hospital and the North Patchogue Fire Department. Right now, the state of the bridge, which has been deemed ‘functionally obsolete,’ poses a threat to all those who cross it, and the continued progress of this project is excellent news for all who rely on its functionality,” said Zeldin. “The integrity of our roads, overpasses, and bridges is not only critical for public safety, but a linchpin of job creation and economic growth in our communities. I am thrilled that we are finally in the homestretch to getting this much-needed infrastructure improvement underway. This project continues to have my full support, and I look forward to providing my constituents with additional updates as it moves toward completion.”
Greg Miglino, South Country Ambulance chief and district manager, agreed. The problem, he said, is a public safety concern; the bridge is too narrow and has become a hazard to first responders as well as to patients, civilian drivers, and pedestrians during any time of the day, especially rush hour.
“We use that bridge for a third of our calls that are north of Sunrise Highway,” he said. “We are happy that this project is finally getting done and looking forward to working with whatever governmental agencies that are involved to make sure the transition is smooth.”
As for suggestions, he said, the ambulance company would like to see something done similar to how the bridge is configured on Route 112 in Patchogue. The design, Zeldin explained back in 2019, will factor in local first responders’ needs for the size of the widening in accordance with the size of the ambulances and fire trucks.
Ridge firefighter and captain Mike Loguerico, also a town councilman, said in his capacity as a firefighter, he travels that bridge multiple times a week.
“Coming off Sunrise Highway trying to make that turn on to Hospital Road is so narrow; there are cars sticking out across the service road,” he said as a first responder. “Widening that bridge will make it easier for emergency vehicles to make that turn.”
According to Brookhaven Town superintendent of highways Dan Losquadro, preliminary plans were submitted earlier in 2019, with approval to move into final design. The project was expected at that time to start construction in late 2020.
“When congressman Zeldin and I met to discuss infrastructure priorities during his first term in office, he understood we could not possibly afford to fund the replacement of the Hospital Road Bridge locally,” explained Losquadro. “Congressman Zeldin successfully secured more than $20 million, along with another $4 million in state funds, from then-Sen. Croci, for the replacement of that dangerous, narrow span. This project has been many years in the making and I am very happy the work is beginning.”
“The renovation of the Hospital Road Bridge is a much-needed project for the citizens of the Town of Brookhaven,” added councilman Neil Foley. “This bridge is a direct link to Long Island Community Hospital that serves thousands of people. We deserve a modern-day bridge to enhance the flow of traffic and to make sure we have the best access to health care.”
The original plan was to widen and repair the bridge after it had been deemed functionally obsolete, meaning it cannot handle the current traffic demand. However, the bridge will now be completely rebuilt, according to the Town of Brookhaven, which will lead the project.
It is currently the key form of transportation for residents and first responders traveling to Long Island Community Hospital and the North Patchogue Fire Department.
The Town of Brookhaven widened Hospital Road north and south of the bridge, deeming the bridge under Federal Highway Administration standards functionally obsolete because the bridge width no longer matches the width of the approaching roadways.
According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the bridge was originally constructed in 1959 and received a major rehabilitation workover in 2006. According to a 2007 study, the annual daily traffic estimate of vehicles traveling over that bridge is 4,133 heading northbound and 3,521 southbound.
The Town of Brookhaven widened Hospital Road north and south of the bridge, deeming the road under FHWA standards functionally obsolete because the bridge width no longer matches the width of the approaching roadways.
In 2014, plans for the much-opposed Walmart were denied, mostly due to traffic concerns at the bridge. In 2014, then Brookhaven Town Planning Board chairman Vincent Pascale told the LI Advance that the deciding factor in denying the Walmart store application was the increased traffic and failure to provide a safe means of access.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here