A major repair project for the Loop Parkway drawbridge is slated to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, and continue through 5 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27.
The Department of Transportation said that the parkway will be closed "round the clock" starting Oct. 22, as the 75-year-old bridge undergoes a preventive maintenance repair which, if delayed, could have a long-term affect on safety, DOT officials said.
DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said that the full closure is essential and cannot be delayed. She explained that because the existing steel that holds the bridge’s counterweights in place is corroding, engineers are reinforcing the steel. The bridge must remain in the open position in order for the repairs to be made, Peters said.
“We are optimistic that, weather permitting, this is a sufficient amount of time to get the job done and reopen the bridge,” Peters said.
Local emergency service providers, officials and area schools have been notified of the closures, Peters said. Motorists are being notified in advance of the closures via electronic roadway signs, in addition to press releases and notices at the Long Beach Public Library, train station and other areas. Peters said that Long Creek Channel access would remain open to mariners.
Motorists are advised to use the Long Beach Road or Atlantic Beach bridges as alternative routes. As with most road and bridge projects, the repair project may be cancelled, postponed, or prolonged due to inclement weather, officials said. Peters said that the DOT chose to make the repairs at this time because traffic is lighter during the off-season and after Labor Day, to minimize the impact on commuters.
“We waited until after Labor Day and the busy season so it would have the least impact as possible,” Peters said.
Peters said that in the spring, the agency completed “prep work” in order to reduce the number of days that the bridge would be closed during the repairs, which was a main reason for night closures last spring. Peters said it was too early to determine the cost of the project.