The banging noise stemming from cars going over the Webster Avenue Bridge is back after repairs were done by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). Engineers and workers from the LIRR have visited the site periodically over the last two to three weeks and a work train was recently present at the bridge until 3 a.m., but the noise persists.
“They don’t do anything,” Michael Maura of 180 Lindberg St. said. “They are always working, but they don’t do anything. It’s comical really. It’s amazing to me. I can’t even believe this anymore.”
On Aug. 21, Maura visited Town of North Hempstead (TONH) town hall to meet with Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, her staff and a staff member of Supervisor Judi Bosworth. In the meeting, Maura brought forth the idea of the town shutting down the bridge themselves without having to go through the LIRR, which owns the bridge.
“When I left the meeting, from what I understand they all seemed to think it was a good idea, to shut the road down, but they had to speak to whoever they had to speak to,” Maura said.
Maura sent an email thanking them for meeting with him, but has not heard back or given an update as to what the town plans to do.
The TONH is responsible for the roadway and the LIRR maintains the bridge structure. The landscaping, snow removal and traffic signs fall under the TONH jurisdiction.
“The town is looking at all options available to us to help our residents, and we have reached out to the Long Island Rail Road requesting an on-site meeting to discuss how we can continue to address our residents’ concerns,” said Lurvey in a statement to the Manhasset Press. “Our goal is to find a long-term solution to the issue.”
The LIRR said the TONH has complete discretion to shut down the bridge, if they so choose to. The LIRR would only shut down the bridge if it was a safety hazard, which they don’t believe it is. If the TONH decided to shut down the bridge, the LIRR said it would have no objection, as it would not interfere with their daily operations.
“The LIRR could close the bridge for safety reasons, but there is no indication that safety is an issue or a risk,” MTA Communication Director Tim Minton said. “The LIRR does not intend to close the bridge.”
“If there is nothing wrong, why are they working on it every day?” asked Jay Allen of 205 Mason Dr. “I would be delighted if they shut the bridge down. It should not be open, it’s ridiculous. I would like to have my house condemned because I don’t want to live here and listen to this noise. Condemn the house. Let the railroad put me up in a hotel to live someplace where I can live in peace and quiet until it’s fixed.”
The MTA plans to announce its 2020-24 Capital Budget Plan next month and they are hoping to include replacing the bridge in the program, but there is no guarantee. The TONH and LIRR are set to meet at some point next week to discuss options pertaining to the bridge, including speed humps and possible closure.
“You can put me up in the Garden City Hotel for the next three years if they want until they fix it,” said Allen.
Maura and Allen both stated that nothing has been done about the tall weeds, leaves and branches that are along the Webster Avenue Bridge sidewalk, which the TONH is responsible for.
In an email dated Aug. 7, a TONH spokesperson said, “The town’s sidewalk district will be doing some temporary repairs to the sidewalk along the Webster Avenue Bridge in the next few days, weathering permitting.”