UPDATED: Long Beach Bridge Malfunctions Again

Memorial Day beachgoers get stuck in traffic as they head back home.

As out-of-town beachgoers in Long Beach drove home on Memorial Day evening, they found the northbound lane on the Michael Valente Memorial Long Beach Bridge was stuck in the upright position.

The northbound lane on the drawbridge was stuck due to a mechanical problem, according to a media advisory sent by the Nassau County Police Department at 6:26 p.m. Monday. According to Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford's office, the malfunction was caused by an electrical short. “A loose electrical wire blew the circuit,” said Patricia Dunham, Ford's assistant, after she spoke to a engineer who oversees the county's bridges Tuesday morning. 

While the drawbridge can be hand-cranked to the down position, Dunham noted, that process takes four-hours and cannot be done at the same time mechanics try to remotely troubleshoot to correct the problem, which was their first option. “You can hand-crank the bridge but it’s not possible or feasible to do that process as the same time that you’re troubleshooting for an electrical short,” Dunham said.

She added that safety is a priority and that mechanics don't want to put the bridge in the closed position with the possibility of it not locking. "So that’s why it stays in the open position," she said. "Because in the closed position it’s not safe.”

After Patch posted an alert about the bridge malfunction on Facebook Monday evening, reader John Noyfb wrote at about the 7 p.m. hour: “[S]ide streets and all are backed up big time!!!."

A second police media advisory, sent at about 11:46 p.m., stated that the lane had reopened. But one reader indicated that the lane may have been reopened earlier. About about the 8 p.m. hour, Patricia Erskine commented: “Looks like it might be getting better. Traffics all gone.”

The Long Beach Police Department said that they started to receive numerous calls from motorists stating that they were at a standstill at the bridge at about 6:11 p.m.

“Shortly thereafter, we received a call from the Nassau County bridge operator stating that a circuit breaker issue was causing the problem and they had made notification for a mechanic to respond,” Sgt. Eric Cregeen, LBPD public information officer, told Patch Tuesday afternoon.

Due to the heavy traffic volume backing up in Long Beach, police decided to split the southbound lanes into one lane for northbound traffic and another lane for southbound traffic, as officers assisted with traffic control. The LBPD reported that the bridge was in full operation at 10:30 p.m.

“Thanks to the assistance of the Nassau County Police Department and the Long Beach Auxiliary Police we were able to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic without any incidents,” Cregeen said.

The bridge, which is owned and maintained by Nassau County, has had its share of problems in recent years. In September 2010, the bridge experienced two malfunctions within days of each other. First, the southbound lane was stuck in the open position when the structure sustained a control board malfunction as a new motor for the locking system was being installed, officials said. Then, a few days later, firefighters were called to the bridge to check on smoke from an apparent electrical problem.

In July 2011, the southbound side of the bridge was stuck in the upright position for hours on a bustling Saturday afternoon, causing some traffic delays and backups. The malfunction was ascribed to broken bridge locks, and had nothing to do with past problems with the span, officials said.

Last July, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, R-Long Beach, said that about five years ago the bridge was fixed and she thought the problems with the bridge would be resolved.

* This story was updated at 1:05 p.m. on 5.29.12.

ADNK May 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Let's ask Peter King (while he still represents us) where the Federal Stimulus money to fix this bridge is? Could it be bottled up in the House pending some more tax cuts for billionaires?
CP May 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Did it take the cops 45 minutes to get there to start moving traffic. Was stuck at the bridge 2 weekends ago. Long Beach and the 4th could not have been any slower. Makes you think what would happen in a real emergency.
ed May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Lets also ask Charles Schummer (he still represents us) where the Federal Stimulus money to fix this bridge is? Could it have been spent on a bailout for the the auto industry in exchange for votes form the UAW, or could it have been spent on another "pork project" like Solydrna that went bankrupt after receiving $500 Million from the dems.
LB Swimmer May 29, 2012 at 01:03 PM
King is too busy muslim-baiting to bother with anything so mundane. He is a grandstanding buffoon.
archie bells May 29, 2012 at 01:26 PM
i wonder if anything will happen with the investigation of the alleged rape on wisconsin ave. the other night ?
Larry S May 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM
When the bridge gets stuck and it will take some time to fix why dosent the LBPD divert the traffic out to the Meadowbrook or AB Bridge rather than tie up the streets
Evelyn Scwartz May 29, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Who is in charge of traffic at the LBPD ? What took place on Monday night was a total screw up. How much do we pay these guys?
ed May 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
If Al D'Amato was still our US Senator the bridge would have been fixed already!
delete me May 29, 2012 at 03:11 PM
John May 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM
or the female surfer that nearly drowned because her fellow surfers and other beachgoers had to save her while 4 lifeguards sat on their chair and did nothing.
Leonard Bauman May 29, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Let's build a Suspension Bridge or an Arch Bridge over the Bay 85 feet high, so that the bridge is stationary and not a draw bridge. The approach ramps to the bridge will need to be elevated 15-20 feet higher than today in both Long Beach and Island Park.
Candygram for Mongo May 29, 2012 at 03:44 PM
or the brawl outside of the Saloon on Sat. 4AM
ed May 29, 2012 at 05:09 PM
A tunnel would be easier
Brendan May 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM
A friend and I were walking across the bridge on Sunday. As we approached it, the bells went off and the bridge opened. After that, as the two spans came back down, the Northbound side took longer to go back into position than the Southbound lane. It seems this problem is an ongoing one that finally got bad enough to mess s*it up bad.
Candygram for Mongo May 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM
did you run and jump to the other side like Indiana Jones?
Brendan May 29, 2012 at 06:15 PM
We waited safely outside the gates (which remained down and the bells remained clanging) until the bridge went back into proper position for ambulating across it. We were headed to a bar in that vicinity which has a view of the bridge, which opened and closed at least once more in the next few hours. This did lead to a discussion between my friend and I how we would go about launching one of our cars across the open span ala the Blues Brothers. This included estimating the damage we thought the car would suffer due to the impact but we concluded that the number of auto repair places on either side of the bridge made this bridge an ideal location to try something like that.
Steve Slank May 29, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I love when this happens. People get really irate and tense instead of just accepting that they're going to be there for a while. Everyone thinks they're so important.
joe May 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Tagney appointed his pal Lt Ragona as the head of Traffic Div. It's going to be a fun summer ! Great start Phil.
Abe May 30, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Since Nassau County owns the bridge why don't we impose tolls on the bridge like the AB bridge? That way we can create no-show/useless job for politiclal bosses, a Commissioner;s board for political donors, serve as a deterrrent for rift raft from Far Rockaway?? Also include a 5 cent pedestrian toll!
Candygram for Mongo May 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM
It's "riff raff" not "rift raft" lol
Brendan May 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Archie bells, could you elaborate on this alleged incident? John, could you elaborate on this alleged incident? MeAgain, could you elaborate on this alleged incident?
Candygram for Mongo May 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I for one absolutely can. There was....uh.....a brawl outside the Saloon at 4AM.....
Brendan May 30, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Do you have any ideas as to what precipitated the brawl? How many people were involved? Were any punches actually landed or was it the typical pushing, shoving, yelling and rolling around on the ground?
Candygram for Mongo May 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM
looked to be about 3-5 people pushing, shoving, with some punches being thrown. Not sure how many landed from my vantage point. A few people on the ground. About 15-20 people shouting. Was not a riot, but would classify as a brawl in my book. I didn't go over and start taking statements or initiating an investigation on account of the fact that it was 4A and I was tired. Take it for what its worth.
John May 30, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Brendan, can you elaborate on why you refer to all the incidents are 'alleged'? either way, head over to the lifeguard article if you want to read more about the female surfer incident.
spell paulman May 30, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Brendan, How fast were you ambulating ? Why didn't you take bicycles ? Why was it necessary for you to take an ambulance ? Why do all your stories concern bars ? Do you consider yourself an alcoholic ? Was the bar crowded ? Was the bar Pops ?? Did you enjoy it ?
Brendan May 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM
We were ambulating at a decent clip. We didn't take bicycles because that would be a pain in in the ass to lock them up. We did not need an ambulance, but after seeing how many ambulances were riding around this town this weekend, we were in the minority. Not all my stories involve bars. Some of them involve idiots at Waldbaums. I do not consider myself to be an alcoholic. The bar was crowded but not unbearably so. The bar was Pop's and I did enjoy it.
Brendan May 30, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I referred to them as alleged because the 3 things that people mentioned would be crimes if they happened in the way they were presented and I don't want to convict anyone on patch.
Sparklepants May 30, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Archie bells....tell us what you know of this rape on Wisconsin... Me again and Brendan.....you guys are hilarious. :)
JP Ashcroft May 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
............Last July, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, R-Long Beach, said that about five years ago the bridge was fixed and she "thought" the problems with the bridge would be resolved........Notice the word thought. Why don't people in some sort of power position use words such as "I am confident", "I know", real concrete phrases that mean something. Using "I thought", means you really aren't in touch with the people and things you represent and that ultimately you just don't care. Thanks Denise.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »