Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced the completion of a series of Suffolk County bridge projects, reflecting a total of $48.2 million in investments in the area’s transportation infrastructure.
The projects, including Hospital Road Bridge over Sunrise Highway, consist of bridge deck refurbishments on five Long Island Expressway bridges and rehabilitation of the Sunrise Highway bridge over Hubbards Path in Babylon Town.
"From paving potholes to building bridges, I'm committed to repairing Long Island's transportation infrastructure,” Hochul said. “These bridge projects will improve critically important roadways on Long Island and will help ensure our infrastructure is built to last."
The original Hospital Road Bridge was built in 1959. Since then, it has become a critical passageway for law enforcement and first responders traveling to Long Island Community Hospital and the North Patchogue Fire Department. The state of the bridge was deemed “functionally obsolete.”
The new bridge was replaced and now serves approximately 12,000 vehicles a day, with a modern span that features an additional travel lane to ease congestion. It also has new sidewalks and 12-foot-wide shoulders to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
Work on the project began in the spring of 2022 and included the use of more than 28,000 linear feet of steel piles, more than 368,000 pounds of steel reinforcement beams, and over 1,400 tons of concrete. The new bridge also features a stone façade consistent with other Long Island highway bridges.
Additionally, according to the New York State Department of Transportation, the intersections with both the north and south service roads were reconstructed to add turning lanes, crosswalks, and custom-built traffic signals with pedestrian countdown timers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project was a joint venture between the Town of Brookhaven, which designed the overpass, and the State Department of Transportation, which oversaw and managed construction.
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, at that time, for approximately $22.8 million. The project broke ground in 2021.
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.
Former congressman Lee Zeldin introduced the Safe Bridges Act 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.