Five Long Island bridges were found to be structurally deficient in a new report from the Long Island Contractors’ Association and a national road-building trade group.
The report released Monday by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association found that the five Long Island bridges were among 43,578 bridges nationwide deemed to be structurally deficient.
However, the structurally deficient rating does not mean the bridges are in danger of collapse. The trade group also said one of three bridges in the U.S. currently need to be repaired or replaced.
The five Long Island bridges cited are the Bartow Road bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Great Neck Plaza that was built in 1935; the Lincoln Avenue bridge over Sunrise Highway in Bohemia built in 1996; the Park Road bridge over Connetquot Brook in Bohemia built in 1900; the Seawane Drive bridge over Auerbach Channel in Hewlett built in 1932; and the William Floyd Parkway bridge over Narrow Bay in Mastic Beach built in 1959.
“It’s good news that it’s only five and structurally deficient doesn’t mean they’re in imminent danger,” said Marc Herbst, executive director of LICA. “They don’t meet capacity and they’re not built to today’s environmental requirements. If you were to replace those bridges, they wouldn’t be built the way they are.”
Herbst explained that bridges are not the primary concern on Long Island as they are in other parts of the state.
“We have more environmentally sensitive needs like sewers and clean waterways,” he said. “Our underground pipes that deliver clean water, some of them are more than 100 years old.”
And while the Biden administration had its $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill approved by Congress in November, Herbst pointed to a January report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli that much of the money for road and bridge work in the last few years has been siphoned off for debt and operating costs.
“New York is at a crossroads. Far too little of the money set aside to build or repair roads and bridges is being used for new capital projects by the state,” DiNapoli said in a written statement. “It is time for New York to change direction and use the money in the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund for critical repairs and to increase pay-as-you-go projects as the fund was created to do. Our state’s financial position has improved, and we are expecting billions of dollars from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. We cannot afford to squander this historic opportunity. Policymakers need to act now to shore up the trust fund.”
Herbst cautioned that “with the additional influx of federal dollars, they’re going to use that money for capital funding and debt relief, rather than for actual construction. So, they’re going to backfill rather than actually build and that’s what we have to fight for to make sure that money for infrastructure is spent on roads, bridges and water systems and those types of programs.”