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Jul 29, 2015 9:41 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Puts Riverside Bridge Project On Hold

A mock up of the proposed bridge. COURTESTY OF FRANK ZAPPONE
Jul 29, 2015 10:28 AM

Southampton Town officials are likely to hold off on plans to build a footbridge connecting Riverside and Riverhead while they explore sources of funding.

Deputy Southampton Town Supervisor Frank Zappone explained last week that the town has a design drawn up by California-based AECOM Engineering. However, he said, the proposals are expensive, and it makes more financial sense to wait a year until funding—mainly collaborations with Riverhead Town and Suffolk County—falls into place.

Mr. Zappone said the delay will give Southampton Town officials time to work on other plans to revitalize the Riverside bank of the Peconic River through the creation of a boardwalk. He explained that the ultimate goal is to tie the projects together. It is also important, he said, to see what county and Riverhead officials have planned for their respective properties in the area.

“Let them have time to come up with a plan, and this time next year we will know what we have and that we have a bridge design,” Mr. Zappone said. “We will have a plan for Riverside, which we don’t have now, and in a year from now we will know what Riverhead is attempting to do on its side—and they are attempting to do a lot—and we will all be further along in the process.”

The bridge proposal was first pitched approximately two years ago as a way to boost revitalization efforts in downtown Riverhead, at the same time renewing efforts to clean up the waterfront in Riverside. Eventually, Mr. Zappone said, Southampton Town would like to install a new boardwalk on the Riverside side that will be within walking distance of new businesses and restaurants. By adding the bridge, the town would be able to link the two areas for pedestrians rather than having them exclusively accessible to drivers, who face limited parking options.

Currently, the town is considering either a 630-foot-long or a 700-foot-long pedestrian bridge, depending on the steepness of the incline. Both sides of the bridge would flow into the boardwalks on each side of the river to create a seamless transition between the two communities.

The bridge, however, comes with a hefty price tag—from $3.2 million to $3.8 million, which would be paid for by the three municipalities and with various grants.

Over the next year, Mr. Zappone said, the main goal will be to figure out what the town actually needs and wants in the bridge project.

“Both options are very expensive,” he conceded. “But there are different ways to go about this. First, we need to see if we still want all the things we think we wanted, so we will review our wish list and say what can we back off on and what does that do to cost.”

Another option, Mr. Zappone said, is to work with private investors who would benefit from such a bridge. In the past few years, he said, there have been developers seeking to develop both the Riverside and Riverhead sides of the water, and they would most likely see the benefit in contributing to the project, he suggested.

Mr. Zappone said the town will have to meet with the Riverhead Town Board to discuss ideas for the bridge and review the plans. Southampton also will wait for the county to apply for its own grant and see how much money is given.

“The missing link in this chain is what Riverhead and the county plan to do,” he said. “How are they planning to reinvigorate that park and what investment are they willing to make? So my recommendation to the board is to wait.”

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Let's see: If it's 6' wide thats $827.00 per square foot or roughly the same price per foot as a Hampton's McMansion. Another way to look at it would be that it's a little less than double what Southampton Village is paying for their new ambulance building. Perhaps the towns should have published their budget and asked for proposals.
By bird (776), Sag Harbor on Jul 29, 15 11:41 AM
Let's get on with it already that neighborhood needs to be cleaned up and fast it could be beautiful
By widow gavits (219), sag harbor on Jul 29, 15 1:05 PM
what do u know in sag harbor?
By CaptainSig (704), Dutch Harbor on Jul 29, 15 8:06 PM
They just paid 4.2 million for a bogus acre for 4.2 million. When it comes to Flanders its always too much. Brad Bender has turned out to be a bloated bag of crap.
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Jul 29, 15 8:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
aren't there bigger problems and issues in riverhead?
smh

cart before the horse
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Jul 30, 15 4:26 PM
It will make it easier for crack heads get to Riverhead
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Jul 30, 15 11:08 PM