Construction of New Bridges Over Powell Creek and Hog Island Channel Heads Toward Spring Completion
More than 8,000 customers commute on the MTA Long Island Rail Road's Long Beach branch every weekday. During the summer, ridership on the branch swells, as the little island city becomes a destination for thousands of day-trippers heading to its popular beaches and restaurants.
Those numbers add up to big business for Long Beach and the LIRR and its no wonder that the nation's largest commuter railroad has dedicated a sizable chunk of its capital budget funding to the replacement of the two aging bridges that connect the island and neighboring communities to points west. Thanks to the MTA Capital Program, some $24.5 million is earmarked for this effort.
Both the Powell Creek Bridge, located between East Rockaway and Oceanside stations, and the Hog Island Channel Bridge, which connects Oceanside and Island Park, were built in the 1920s and have served the Railroad well for nearly 90 years. But to ensure safe and reliable service well into the new century, LIRR planners realized the structures would need to be replaced.
Work at both locations is now underway with much of the heavy labor being performed on weekends through the winter and spring so that the busy weekday-commuting schedule is unaffected.
The LIRR's goal is to have the new bridges in place before the Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional kickoff of the summer beach season.
On the weekends of March 20-21, March 27-28, May 1-2 and May 15-16, buses will replace train service for customers traveling between Long Beach and Valley Stream. Each weekend will be preceded by a public notification so that LIRR Long Beach Branch customers can plan ahead.
Eastbound, when busing is in effect, customers will transfer to buses at Valley Stream for stations Lynbrook through Long Beach. Customers should allow up to 34 minutes of additional travel time.
Westbound, customers will board buses at stations Long Beach through Lynbrook bound for Valley Stream, where they will transfer to trains to complete their trip. Buses will depart up to 33 minutes earlier than scheduled train times.
In addition to the temporary busing for the weekend dates listed above, the work will require the Railroad to close the eastbound platforms at Island Park, Oceanside, East Rockaway and Centre Ave. Stations on the weekend of March 6-7. The LIRR reminds customers to allow extra time to cross over to the westbound platform upon arriving at those stations.
The existing Powell Creek and Hog Island Channel bridges are open-deck, wooden and steel structures supported by wooden piles. The new bridges will be pre-cast concrete structures supported by reinforced concrete-filled, steel pipe piles, which will provide safer, closed-deck concrete roadbeds.
The project will also alleviate a recurring flooding condition at Powell Creek Bridge, which has, at times, led to delays and temporary service suspensions, by raising the elevation of the bridge by approximately one foot. Bridge walkways will also be installed at both locations to make it safer for LIRR employees.
For detailed information and updated schedules, customers can pick up a Long Beach Branch special weekend timetable, visit the LIRR's website at www.mta.info or call the LIRR's 24-hour Travel Information Center: (718) 217-LIRR (NYC); (516) 822-LIRR (Nassau); (631) 231-LIRR (Suffolk); (718) 558-3022 (TDD/Hearing Impaired).