Bayville Bridge to close again for renovations


The Bayville Bridge is set to close for much-needed rehabilitation work on Feb. 26, hopefully marking the end of the ongoing two-year project by Nassau County to fully restore the bridge.

This closure, anticipated to last for 35 days, aims to address damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. Local elected officials, community leaders and residents alike say they are ready to put the project behind them.

Initially scheduled to commence on Feb. 21, the closure date was rescheduled by four days to align with a Monday start, minimizing disruption for commuters. Steve Minicozzi, the mayor of Bayville, emphasized the necessity of the rehabilitation despite acknowledging the burden it puts on Bayville residents.

“Unfortunately there’s no magic wand that tells the county exactly how long the work is going to take,” Minicozzi acknowledged. “I know everyone, including myself, sat in traffic many times, but I think we really are in the homestretch and we’re close to putting this all behind us.”

Although the closure will be inconvenient for residents and local businesses, Minicozzi said he was grateful that the county coordinated it during the winter months, aiming to mitigate adverse effects on commerce.

“Although there is no good time to close the bridge, the winter is certainly better than the summer,” Minicozzi said.

Vinny Moscato, president of the Bayville Chamber of Commerce, added that while the timing of the closure was certainly preferable in winter, he still has concerns about the impact on local businesses, noting previous closures’ effects on establishments such as restaurants and catering halls.

“Every time the bridge has been closing, it affects the businesses here,” Moscato said. “Unfortunately, the bridge is our main connection, so it has to be operational, it has to be working and it has to be in good condition. So we just have to put up with it.”

Meanwhile, neighboring Mill Neck’s Mayor Peter Quick emphasized the importance of adequate preparations for emergencies during the closure. He added that he had been in communication with numerous emergency response organizations, and that Mill Neck was willing to help its neighbor in any way that’s needed.

Reflecting on the broader impact of the project, Quick highlighted the prolonged nature of infrastructure undertakings in the area, referencing the multi-year road and seawall reconstruction project following Hurricane Sandy. Despite recognizing the inconvenience for Bayville and Center Island residents, he emphasized the necessity of the bridge’s rehabilitation for the entire community’s benefit.

“We’ve reached out to the chief of the Brookville Police Department to all of the three different fire departments and to Nassau County Ambulance and Nassau County to make sure that we had all the bases covered for any emergencies along West Shore Road,” Quick said. “This has been a long stretch for the residents to have the bridge completed, so hopefully it’ll last another hundred years for us.”

Amidst concerns over potential delays, both Minicozzi and Moscato expressed hopes for adherence to the scheduled reopening date. Minicozzi emphasized the critical role of communication and collaboration with the county to minimize disruptions.

“I’m just hoping that the schedule that they’ve given us ... is true, and it doesn’t extend longer than that,” Moscato remarked. “This is definitely the best time to have it done.”

Following the planned completion of the bridge on April 1, further work will still need to be completed, although it will not require the bridge’s closure. Minicozzi added that the additional work will mostly consist of repainting the structure.

As the closure looms, residents and businesses brace for the temporary disruption, with cautious optimism about the project’s long-term benefits. Numerous residents took to Facebook, expressing their concerns and frustrations with this road closure.

“This whole business with the condition of the bridge has been a thorn in the side for every business owner and resident in Bayville,” wrote resident Amy Herling. “It’s inexcusable that Nassau takes this amount of time to get the job done.”

Others acknowledged the inconvenience, but emphasized the necessity of making sure the bridge is fully repaired rather than risking further damage or even the bridge’s destruction due to another hurricane or similar weather event.

“The bridge is still being rebuilt from Sandy. It just goes to show that natural disasters take a heck of a long time to recover from,” wrote resident Christine Oddo. “The bridge was old, the parts had to be remade, and the weather conditions while rehabbing the bridge are not the best. Let’s just be grateful that it is going to be fixed soon and that we are not in some of the other areas of the country that are facing complete devastation.”