DOT study to determine if bridge that connects beach towns to rest of LI needs to be replaced
State officials are determining whether a bridge that connects the Meadowbrook Parkway with the Long Beach Barrier Island near Point Lookout needs to be replaced.
The Loop Parkway drawbridge is known for causing traffic jams, especially during the summer beach season.
The parkway is also a major hurricane evacuation route and helps people in the area get to the closest hospital.
Andy Mihalick, who lives in Point Lookout, says the drawbridge is a "crap shoot."
"You never know when it's going to go up because it goes up whenever a boat wants to go by," Mihalick says.
If the bridge has mechanical problems, it can be shut down altogether.
The Loop Parkway drawbridge is also one of only three bridges that connects neighborhoods like Point Lookout, Lido Beach, Long Beach and Atlantic Beach with the rest of Long Island.
"It's tough because you've got to go all the way down to Long Beach and go around," says Bruce Banghart, of Point Lookout. "Takes another 35, 40 minutes."
The New York State Department of Transportation is spending $250,000 on a study to determine if the bridge needs to be replaced.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says the bridge was built during the Great Depression and a new one is needed.
He is asking for engineers to consider building it higher so it will not have to open and close for boats.
"The idea that drivers are sitting there so Bill in his one boat can go through and hundreds of people are waiting there, seems insane to me in 2022," Kaminsky says. "So, I'd like state engineers to study whether we even need a drawbridge there at all."
If a new bridge were to be built, it's not clear if the current one would keep operating.
Drivers in areas like Island Park are hope it does so traffic will not get thrown into their streets.
"If they close it and everyone has to go up Long Beach Road, it will be an absolute nightmare," Blumenthal says
The study by the DOT is just getting underway.
A spokesperson for the DOT told News 12 that they are looking forward to working with the community and local officials to review planning options for the drawbridge.