Long Island Rail Road officials have determined that the bridge over its railroad track at the western end of Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, which has been closed to all vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists since July 1, cannot be repaired and must be replaced, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said on Tuesday.
In a virtual meeting last week organized by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Mr. Van Scoyoc and Councilman David Lys discussed the status of the bridge, which was constructed in 1895, with L.I.R.R. engineering, management, and administrative officials, the supervisor said. “That bridge was basically designed originally as a bridge for horse and carriage,” he said, “so it’s not surprising that more than 100 years later it would be where it is today.”
The L.I.R.R. officials said they expect to issue a request for proposals for engineering and design for a new bridge by the end of this month, Mr. Van Scoyoc said. “We hope that they certainly fast-track that and get that request out as soon as possible.”
The July 1 closure of the bridge was the second in two months: Town officials had closed it on May 7 after a sizable hole opened in it, among other gaps in the road’s surface. After its initial closure, Highway Department officials began repairs on May 30. The bridge was reopened on June 10, remaining open for less than three weeks before its second closure. The bridge last saw major repairs in 2007.
According to the town, the L.I.R.R. owns the bridge. The L.I.R.R. asserts that the town owns it.
Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians have been advised to use Abram’s Landing Road or Napeague Meadow Road to access Cranberry Hole Road and Lazy Point.
The town board held a public hearing in July regarding a proposed code amendment that would prohibit commercial vehicles of over 6,000 pounds on Cranberry Hole Road between Montauk Highway and Cross Highway. The present weight limit is 10,000 pounds, though signs posted to that effect are apparently often ignored.
Mr. Van Scoyoc said that the L.I.R.R. will not finance the project, “but everyone on the call agreed that we would seek to garner whatever funding necessary to replace that bridge.” After Tuesday’s meeting, he said that New York State and federal grants were potential funding sources.
He also asked the public to be patient, as “this is going to take some time. It’s a major project, and there are a number of different entities that will have to be involved in order to actually make it happen,” including the State Department of Transportation. “So the patience of our community, I know, will be tested because this isn’t going to happen fast. I just want to let folks know that we’re doing all we can on our end to see that this is expedited.”