Aug 02, 2012
By Danielle Puma
Vincent Grasso, Executive Director of the Nassau County Bridge Authority, said the construction of the Atlantic Beach Bridge is an extensive project that will only inconvenience beach-goers for one summer. Vehicles may have to wait an additional 15 to 30 minutes to cross the bridge, but the Bridge Authority’s project has its reasons for causing weekend delays. Any additional congestion of traffic is not scheduled until after the summer season.
On the weekends during the summer, the congestion of traffic to get over the bridge is impacted by the placement of the bridge’s express pay lane. The lane is in the center of the toll plaza and many motorists are unable to access it due to the high volume of traffic. Grasso stated that to move the express lane to the left hand side would only cause more disruption. The Bridge Authority will wait until the summer is over and traffic has decreased.
“We have about seven or eight projects ongoing right now. They are scheduled in consultation with engineers and instruction project managers and the timing of them tend to be scheduled with regard to the disruption of traffic. We thought the time it would take to close down lanes in order to change signs would be better off done after the summer season.”
Traffic is at its all when the bridge is opened every two hours for boaters. But while the bridge is closed, motorists are able to utilize the full service lanes and decal lanes at the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Exact change lanes were removed from the bridge due lack of use.
“We had exact change lanes that were removed for reasons that they ultimately ended up being completely underutilized and in the sense that they were exact change lanes, there was no flexibility with it. They were either exact change lanes or nothing. What we’ve done in removing those and implementing the hard decal and full service lanes is that we did offer flexibility. We can expand or close down availability, as it’s needed.”
Grasso said the Nassau County Bridge Authority has never implemented EZpass and will not be installing a lane in the near future. There is also no chance of negotiating the annual membership fee to join the trade group.
“EZpass is a monopoly. They don’t need to negotiate. The only negotiation they engage in, in regard to their fees, has to do with changes in the traffic volume. Looking back on thirty years of historical traffic data that we have here, there are no anticipated changes there.”
The costs of the Atlantic Beach Bridge’s renovations came in at $8.9 million at the lowest bid. Grasso said the Bridge Authority is currently on schedule to possibly have it under budget.
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