Mar 03 2020

Kleiner’s Korner: The Longest Motor Parkway Bridge Was Built with an Eye to the Future

Long-time Motor Parkway contributor Al Velocci posted a comment last week concerning the length of the Central Avenue/LIRR bridge in Bethpage.  

Al Velocci: "Art, Has anyone commented on the length of the Parkway bridge over Central Ave./LIRR at Bethpage? The three-span Parkway  bridge over Westbury Ave. in Mineola  is less than 80 feet across, while the one over Central Ave./LIRR is between 96-100 feet. Anyone?"

Art Kleiner

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A Comparison of Three Bridges - Approximate Dimensions

Central Avenue/LIRR Bridge, Bethpage

Center Opening:Length:  68'

Other Two Openings: Length: 16' each

Westbury Avenue Trolley Bridge, Mineola

Trolley Line Opening: Length: 19'

Other Two Openings: Length: 18' and 24'

LIRR Bridge, Mineola

Main Line: Approx. Length: 65'

Oyster Bay Line: Approx. Length: 65'

(Photo provided by Ron Ridolph)

Central Avenue/LIRR Bridge - Bethpage

1908 Construction Photo

1908 Survey - Ttake note of the proposed relocation of Central Avenue (courtesy Al Velocci).

1914 Belcher-Hyde Map

The Engineering Report (Sept. 21, 1908)

In use.

A paragraph in this trade paper provides the answer.  "The bridge was designed t0 permit in the future the elimination of the highway and the railroad crossing." The Engineering Report, Sept. 21, 1908. Courtesy of Al Velocci.

However, the actual relocation of Central Avenue of which the article makes reference and depicted on the above 1908 survey did not occur until the building of the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (late 50s, early 60s).  

The 1961 plans for the construction of the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway show the relocation of Central Avenue south of the LIRR tracks.  Courtesy  of NYSDOT.

Westbury Avenue Bridge - Mineola

1909 Construction

1909 Construction


A 1914 letter from Alfred Kienzle (Assistant Treasurer) to William K. Vanderbilt Jr. in response to the latter's question pertaining to the width of the spans above the proposed highways and trolley right of way. 

This would indicate that Westbury Avenue had not been built as of yet but similar to the Central Ave./LIRR bridge the parkway managers looked to the future in terms of its width.  Courtesy of Al Velocci.

1928 Survey from the Motor Parkway Atlas.

Mineola/LIRR Bridge - Mineola

1907 Survey


Photo provided by Ron Ridolph


Mar 04 2020 frank femenias 10:19 AM

Was the Central Av/LIRR bridge in Bethpage (Central Park) the longest Motor Parkway bridge built? The Central Av/LIRR bridge diagram below indicates the west side girder’s length to be 106 ft and 0 in. Photo courtesy of

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Mar 04 2020 Brian D McCarthy 4:22 PM

The LIRR upgrading to double track must have been foreseen as well, that side having a 68 ft width. I only see 1 support/separator, so Central Ave then was about 30 ft wide?

It would be interesting to locate a ground photo of the Westbury Ave LIMP bridge say after 1920. The 18 ft width on the south side may have been intended for horse & wagon, while the 24 ft section meant for automobiles? Pretty sure the trolley discontinued by 1925? With the total of 3 openings, there was likely traffic problems like at Clinton Rd.

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Mar 04 2020 Art Kleiner 9:52 PM

Article taken from “Automobile Topics” of October 24, 1908.

Mar 08 2020 Steven Lynch 12:25 AM

Wonderful… the photo/maps need to be larger, or via thumbnails. Example: Detail of girders would be useful if much larger or thumb linked.

Mar 08 2020 Jonathan B. Richards II 8:33 PM

Fascinating observations regarding engineering details, Mr. Lynch. Thank you for your comment. Amazing stuff!

Mar 09 2020 frank femenias 1:41 AM

Zoom test

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Mar 09 2020 frank femenias 1:42 AM

Zoom Test 2

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