Atlantic Beach Bridge To Be Repaired
Starting in September, the Atlantic Beach Bridge, which connects Rockaway to Atlantic Beach, will undergo a series of renovations that will last two years. The project will include equipment upgrades and its cost is estimated at $9 million, all of which is to be financed by the sale of Nassau County municipal bonds. Repairs will be overseen by the county’s Bridge Authority.
The 1,173-foot long, six-lane span, which costs $2 to cross each way, was originally opened in 1952, replacing an older, smaller bridge. It is used by many in Far Rockaway, who go to Long Beach and Oceanside to shop, enjoy the restaurants, and commute, among other things. The Bridge Authority, infamous for presiding over cost overruns and doling out patronage, says construction is unlikely to cause major service disruptions.
Some, though, in Atlantic Beach and Far Rockaway are uneasy. Julian Goldstein, chairman of Atlantic Beach’s Fire District and a member of its Rescue Squad, told the Long Island Herald this week that problems with the bridge could stop ambulances from transporting heart attack victims to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, which is closer to the town than Long Beach Medical Center is. Felicia Scarola- Edwards, who lives in Merrick, Long Island and is advertising manager for The Wave, says disruptions could force her “to take the long way to work.”
This, of course, wouldn’t be the first time things like that happened. From 1998 to 2000, the Atlantic Beach Bridge underwent renovations to bring it up to federal safety standards, an undertaking that inconvenienced many Rockaway and Long Island residents. Hopefully, it will be different this time.