Emergency repairs needed on Suffolk bridges

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Photo credit: Erin Geismar

by Rick Brand, Newsday
May 30, 2012

Suffolk County public works officials must make $1.6 million in emergency repairs on two county highway bridges in Holbrook and Ronkonkoma because a state audit found the overpasses are in immediate need of repair, Bellone administration aides disclosed Tuesday. 

Ben Zwirn, a Bellone aide, said the administration will submit on Tuesday, June 5, a legislative resolution with a certificate of necessity to fund the emergency work because a state audit, done once every two years, disclosed the bridges "were in dire need of emergency repairs." 

The bridges involved are the Nicolls Road bridge that goes over Portion Road in Ronkonkoma, and the Woodside Avenue bridge that goes over Waverly Avenue in Holbrook. 

William Hillman, public works chief engineer, said both spans suffer from deterioration of girders because of rusting, but the roads remain open and there is no danger to the public. He said the department already has shored up the spans with 4-by-6-foot wooden blocks and is checking the temporary repairs regularly to assure safety. At the Holbrook location, he said, the shoulder on Waverly Avenue was also blocked off to prevent danger from falling debris. 

Hillman said the state informed the county of the problem about two weeks ago, and the department responded by doing its own evaluation and making immediate temporary repairs. He said the last time the county had to make similar emergency repairs was four years ago for the Woodside Avenue bridge. 

To fund the project, public works proposes taking the money from a road project on Moriches-Middle Island Road, which is not ready for repairs because it has not gotten approvals from state and federal agencies.

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