July 28, 2023
Dear Quogue Residents,
I have received further details concerning the emergency repair work that needs to be done on the Quogue Bridge. While I had very much hoped that this could be delayed until the fall, the Suffolk County DPW has now informed us that the repairs will begin on Tuesday, August 15th, and they anticipate the bridge being out of service for three days.
The Quogue Bridge was built in 1938 and is the oldest moveable bridge maintained by Suffolk County. The bridge is a “double-leaf bascule” bridge with the original mechanical equipment. This is a fancy name for a drawbridge. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bascule_bridge) Certain electrical components were updated during the most recent rehabilitation about seven years ago, but the old equipment continues to be problematic given the original design of the bridge.
Currently, the steel angles that are holding counterweight blocks in place under the north bascule leaf have been pushed out to the point where they rub on the steel beams above when the bridge opens and closes. This leads to the bridge motors experiencing resistance to the point where the electrical system causes the motors to stop working until the system can be reset and the beams can finish their movement. The County authorities explain that this problem will only get worse as the summer heat sets in, which could cause the bridge to become inoperable both to vehicle and marine traffic. In other words, if they do not perform the emergency repairs now, there could be a catastrophic failure that could lead to a much longer closure (think weeks or possibly months).
The current proposed solution is to support the counterweight blocks while the bridge is in the open position (or remove them temporarily) and install new steel angles in a position that will eliminate the rubbing. Unfortunately, this work can only be done with a complete road closure and a detour to traffic while the bridge remains open for the duration of the repair. The contractor estimates that the work will take a minimum of three shifts to complete, including working around the clock through Tuesday night, and the County anticipates a three-day closure to vehicular traffic as the bridge remains in the open position. This work will be done between Tuesday and Thursday when traffic is lightest. If the work can be completed in three shifts, there is a possibility that the bridge would be reopened after two days.
The County plans to post numerous signs alerting drivers of the closure. Our police and fire departments will of course be coordinating with Westhampton Beach to arrange for mutual assistance to ensure rapid response to any emergencies that might arise. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the repairs can be accomplished quickly and the disruption to the Village kept to a minimum.
We know that this is going to be a huge distraction and inconvenience for all residents during our “high season”, especially all who live on Dune Road.