Is Bay Avenue bridge in East Marion a hazard to motorists?

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | A study may be necessary to determine if Bay Avenue bridge in East Marion is a hazard to motorists.

Bridge inspectors from the state transportation department recently got a look at the Bay Avenue bridge in East Marion and say further study is needed to determine if it poses a hazard to motorists.

The town brought in the inspectors after learning from a resident who lives near the 16-foot bridge that the recent clearing of phragmites on Marion Lake exposed cracks in the span’s base. Bay Avenue provides the only public access to a small, mostly seasonal, community between Marion Lake and Orient Harbor.

“There was some deterioration, which they could not verify without further study,” town engineer Jamie Richter told the Town Board Tuesday morning. “We need further study to determine whether our best avenue is repair or replacement.”

Mr. Richter said the bridge inspectors found some problems with the revetment around a recently installed water main in the bridge roadway and recommend taking boring samples of the bridge supports to determine if the concrete has been scoured away over time.

The inspectors suggested waiting for the further report to determine the span’s weight limit. Several weeks ago Town Board members suggested capping the load at three tons.

“That’s the lowest you can go to and still be passable,” said Highway Superintendent Pete Harris.

“If you’re going to make it a three-ton bridge, you need other access for fire equipment,” said Councilman Bill Ruland. “Even your average rescue ambulance is more than three tons.”

Mr. Harris, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said the East Marion Fire Department has been advised to give “great attention” to the potential hazard of crossing the bridge.

“In my opinion, this thing looks pretty scary,” he said. “We need to have someone with expertise determine if there’s scouring behind the headwalls.”

Mr. Richter said it’s possible to have access via Rabbit Lane to an adjacent street in the event of an emergency or if the bridge is impassable while the work is being done, but doing so would require permission from private property owners.

Supervisor Scott Russell suggested that the board ask the county Department of Public Works consider a more extensive study of the bridge.


Southold Town has authorized its attorneys to seek an injunction to stop Sherwood House Vineyards from selling wine from a shed on its Oregon Road, Mattituck property. The town says the vineyard cannot conduct a retail operation on land preserved through a development rights easement.

Vineyard owners Charles and Barbara Smithen had been seeking site plan approval from the town Planning Board to relocate their tasting area to another part of the property where the development rights remain intact. But Planning Board vice chairman Donald Wilcenski sent a letter to the Smithens’ attorney in early August asking them to clear up their outstanding town code violations before proceeding with the review.


The Town Board unanimously approved the purchase of a development rights easement on a roughly 20-acre agricultural property owned by the Damianos family’s Pindar Vineyards on Tuesday night. The property lies just west of the intersection of Elijah’s Lane and Route 25 in Mattituck. The town paid $61,000 per acre for the property using Community Preservation Funds.

No one spoke for or against the purchase at a public hearing Tuesday night.

“This would be the last farm that completes a rather nice large block of farmland,” said Councilman Al Krupski. “We appreciate the landowner making it available.”

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