Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine held a press conference on July 25 to thank the Town’s New York State delegation for securing $15.842 million for the superstructure replacement of the Sheep Pasture Road Bridge in Port Jefferson. Replacement of the railroad bridge, which was originally built in 1906, is the responsibility of the MTA, while the maintenance of the vehicle roadbed is the responsibility of the Town of Brookhaven.
The Town applied for the grant through the BridgeNY Program, an initiative that supports projects to combat climate change by reducing the risk of flooding; improves the resiliency of structures; facilitates regional economic competitiveness and prioritizes projects that benefit environmental justice communities.
At a March 2023 press conference, Supervisor Romaine and members of the Brookhaven Town Council made a strong appeal to Governor Kathy Hochul and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to replace the bridge with a span that can adequately handle increased motor vehicle traffic on the top roadway. The plan also has the support of local first responders who currently must detour around the bridge, adding precious minutes to their emergency response time.
“The Sheep Pasture Road Bridge is 117 years old and a new one is long overdue,” Romaine said. “I thank the New York State delegation from Brookhaven Town for championing this important project, as well as the governor for her support. The vehicle traffic load has increased a great deal since the bridge was built in 1906, so the new one will comply with 21st-century safety standards, greatly improve the traffic patterns on Sheep Pasture Road and create well-paying jobs for many years to come.”
Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro added, “Replacing the Sheep Pasture Road Bridge in Port Jefferson has been on my radar for quite some time. I’m very pleased that New York State took the alarm that we raised regarding the safety of this bridge seriously. We will work with and coordinate with the MTA to move this project forward as expeditiously as it possibly can. I am very proud that we were able to bring sufficient attention to this impending disaster that New York State saw fit to give us this award. I’m very excited to move this project forward and I look forward to its completion in the, hopefully, not-too-distant future.”
Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico was a bit more blunt. “We need the wheels of state government and the MTA to move quicker when it comes to important projects like the replacement of the Sheep Pasture Road Bridge,” he said. “I hope that today’s announcement will get the ball rolling so our Highway Superintendent can get started and complete this project in a timely manner for the safety of the community.”
Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich agreed. “The MTA seems to have demonstrated a lack of will to invest in our area,” he said.” We are proud of our historical structures but railroad bridges shouldn’t be one of them. Allowing critical infrastructure to age and degrade to this extent is really a case of shocking neglect. I thank Governor Hochul and our New York State delegation for answering our call and coming through for the residents of my council district and anyone who travels our roads.”
NYS Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) said, “I’d like to thank my partners in the Town of Brookhaven for their efforts to secure the funding to rebuild the Sheep Pasture Road Bridge. It’s strong local government like the Town of Brookhaven that has done the job so our residents can feel safe while using our roads and bridges. This is a big win for the residents, and I was happy to play a role in achieving this outcome.”
Port Jefferson Village Mayor Lauren Sheprow said, “Our administration and the residents of Port Jefferson Village could not be more excited by this development. We have anticipated the construction of a new bridge for many years, and I am happy to see that it will finally come to fruition. I thank our Town and State officials for making this a top priority.”