One resident offered a suggestion when the East Hampton Town Board held a public hearing last Thursday regarding a proposed code amendment that would prohibit commercial vehicles over 6,000 pounds from Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, between Montauk Highway and Cross Highway.
As the bridge there has been closed twice now, Jaine Mehring of Amagansett asked if it would be possible to reopen it only to pedestrians and cyclists “at some point,” as that would be much appreciated by the community.
She acknowledged that the bridge may have to be replaced, and asked the board to advocate for that to happen as soon as possible and that a new bridge be in keeping with the aesthetic character of its surroundings and not “something so tragically ugly.”
The board is in discussions with the Long Island Rail Road about the bridge and its future, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in response, adding that the discussions are ongoing and the public will be kept informed. “We understand the importance of that roadway to residents and visitors,” he said.
The bridge, at the western end of Cranberry Hole Road, was closed to all vehicles, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, on July 1 by the New York State Department of Transportation and the L.I.R.R. because of structural problems — for the second time in two months. Motorists and pedestrians must now take a detour around the area.
The town “is working with both agencies to insure timely repairs, or to provide an alternative,” according to a July 1 statement from Mr. Van Scoyoc.
Town officials had closed the bridge that crosses the railroad track on May 7 after a sizable hole had opened in it, among other gaps in the road’s surface. Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians were advised to use Abram’s Landing Road or Napeague Meadow Road to access Cranberry Hole Road and Lazy Point.
After its initial closure, Highway Department officials began repairs on May 30, and the bridge was reopened on June 10, remaining open for less than three weeks before its second closure.
According to the town, the bridge is owned by the L.I.R.R. The L.I.R.R. asserts that the town owns it. It was constructed in 1895 and last had major repairs in 2007.
The current weight limit is 10,000 pounds, though signs posted to that effect are apparently often ignored.