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Photographer's Note

Smith Point Bridge in Shirley New York.

THE ORIGINAL SMITH POINT BRIDGE: At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a one-quarter mile-long wooden bridge connecting Mastic Beach on the Long Island mainland and the eastern end of Fire Island. Several years after it was built, the bridge was wrecked by ice flows in Great South Bay. The bridge primarily provided access to the old Smith Point Hotel, which ultimately was destroyed by fire.

THE NEW SMITH POINT BRIDGE: In July 1955, the Shirley-Mastic Chamber of Commerce invited 12,000 people to break ground for the new Smith Point Bridge to Fire Island. The new one-quarter mile bridge represented the first step by Suffolk County to preserve 810 miles of shore frontage for public purposes. Included in the bridge project was the development of Smith Point County Park, a facility with a beach frontage of 6,000 feet along the Atlantic Ocean. Although the new county park was not of the same scale as the state parks developed by Moses, the park was to include bathing and camping facilities.

The 1,216-foot-long bascule drawbridge, which has a main span of 80 feet, has a double-leaf, steel-deck design. In the closed position, the span has a vertical clearance of 22 feet. The bridge carries two lanes (one lane in each direction) over its 22-foot-wide roadway, which is flanked on each side by sidewalks. The entire structure was built on concrete piles, with a reinforced concrete roadway laid on a steel beam superstructure
The new Smith Point Bridge, which is the southern terminus of the four-lane William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46), opened on July 4, 1959. At the dedication ceremonies, Robert Moses, who did not play a direct role in the span's construction, praised Suffolk County officials for their efforts in preserving the beach for public purposes and for building the bridge.







However, there is speculation that Moses may have played an indirect role in the bridge's construction. In the 1950's and early 1960's, he planned an eastern extension of the Ocean Parkway eastward from Robert Moses State Park along the 32-mile-length of Fire Island. The Smith Point Bridge may have provided an eastern access point to the proposed Ocean Parkway Extension, which was killed in 1964 with the establishment of Fire Island National Seashore. Hints of the proposed parkway are found at the western end of the dual-carriageway Fire Island Beach Road (Suffolk CR 75), where there are "roadways to nowhere."

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Viewed: 1893
Points: 52
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Additional Photos by angela LL (angela926) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 365 W: 17 N: 467] (1884)
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