Upcoming closure of Marine Parkway Bridge raises safety concerns on western end of Rockaway peninsula

marine parkway bridge
The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge will be closed to vehicles in both directions Friday night until Saturday night worrying some residents along the western end of the Rockaway peninsula.
Courtesy of MTA

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will be implementing a full closure of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge that connects the western end of the Rockaway peninsula to Brooklyn from 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 through 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The 87-year-old bridge over Jamaica Bay will be closed in both directions to all traffic for the replacement of roadway deck panels.

Motorists can use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, 5.6 miles to the east, as an alternate route. Service on the Q35 bus will be rerouted via a detour over the Cross Bay Bridge.

Traffic, and the Q35 bus, will be rerouted over the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge nearly six miles away. Courtesy of MTA

When the closure was announced on Feb. 12, residents in Breezy Point, Neponsit, Belle Harbor and Roxbury raised concerns over public safety. Breezy Point residents typically use the bridge to travel to Brooklyn in case of medical emergencies and Brooklyn-based firehouses frequently respond to fires along the western end of the peninsula. When free from traffic along the Belt Parkway, the trip between the bridges to the Rockaways averages 13 minutes.

“These repairs were certainly necessary, but there is nothing more necessary than proper access to emergency services,” Council Member Joann Ariola said. “That’s why we immediately contacted our partners at the MTA, and negotiated a guarantee that emergency vehicles will be able to cross the bridge during the closure period. We absolutely do not want a tragedy to occur as a result of these upgrades.”

The Marine Parkway Bridge was commissioned by Robert Moses and opened in 1937. It was renamed in 1978 to honor former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Gil Hodges, who later managed the New York Mets for three years including the stunning upset of the Baltimore Orioles in five games to capture the 1969 World Series.