Smith Point Bridge

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Smith Point Bridge
Smith Point Bridge looking south, Shirley, New York - 20090708.jpg
The Smith Point Bridge looking towards Smith Point County Park.
Coordinates40°44′18″N 72°52′05″W / 40.73833°N 72.86806°W / 40.73833; -72.86806Coordinates: 40°44′18″N 72°52′05″W / 40.73833°N 72.86806°W / 40.73833; -72.86806
Carries2 lanes of CR 46
William Floyd Parkway
CrossesNarrow Bay
LocaleShirley, New York, USA
Maintained bySuffolk County Department of Public Works
ID number1058770
DesignBascule drawbridge
Total length1,216 feet (371 m)
Width28 feet (8.5 m)
Load limit29 (5 on span, 24 approach)
Clearance above22 feet (6.7 m)
Construction cost$2,500,000 (1960 USD)
OpenedJuly 4, 1959

The Smith Point Bridge is a steel bascule drawbridge in Shirley, New York that connects Long Island to Fire Island. Located on the south shore of central Suffolk County, the bridge carries William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46) across The Narrows between Bellport Bay (an arm of the Great South Bay) and Moriches Bay. It connects Long Island with Smith Point County Park and the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness, both are a part of the Fire Island National Seashore.


Location of the Smith Point Bridge (red arrow). Also, see full map.

The bridge derives its name from Smith Point which is a peninsula on the Long Island mainland sticking into Bellport Bay which in turn was named for William "Tangier" Smith who in the 17th century owned 50 miles of ocean front property in the Manor St. George.

In 1916, Fredrick J. Quimby paid for construction of the first Tangier Bridge at Smith Point. It was a wooden footbridge with an engine driven drawbridge. It replaced boat access to Tangier Manor and Quimby's oceanfront development, intended to be a resort town to compete with Atlantic City. Early in 1917, 200 feet in the center of the bridge, including the bascule draw and all its machinery, was destroyed by an ice jam. Subsequent winter storms continued to ravage the remains of the bridge. The few subsequent wooden bridges built to varying degrees of stability over the years were all destroyed by winter ice floes.[3]

In 1926, caravans of camels and horses passed over the bridge for the filming of The Son of the Sheik starring Rudolf Valentino and Vilma Banky.[3]

The last wooden footbridge washed away in 1927, and no new bridges were constructed for another 32 years.[3]

In summer 1955, the Shirley-Mastic Chamber of Commerce broke ground and invited 12,000 people to initiate the building of the new Smith Point Bridge to Fire Island. The bridge opened on July 4, 1959. The bridge that spans one-quarter mile represented the first step by Suffolk County to preserve 810 miles of shore frontage for public purposes. The bridge project was the development of Smith Point County Park, with a beach frontage of 6,000 feet along the eastern side of Fire Island Barrier Island on Atlantic Ocean. The park includes bathing and camping facilities. The entire structure was built on concrete piles, with a reinforced concrete roadway laid on a steel beam superstructure.

Structural Specifications[edit]

  • Type of bridge: - Steel-deck bascule bridge (drawbridge)
  • Construction started: July 16, 1955
  • Opened to traffic: - July 4, 1959
  • Length of bascule draw span: - 80 feet (24 m)
  • Total length of bridge: - 1,216 feet (371 m)
  • Width of bridge: - 28 feet (8.5 m)
  • Number of traffic lanes: - 2 lanes
  • Width of roadway: - 22 feet (6.7 m)
  • Clearance at center above mean high water: - 22 feet (6.7 m)
  • Cost of original structure (including approaches): - $2,500,000


The Suffolk County Legislature approved $73 million in funding for a new bridge on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. The new bridge is expected to have a 75- to 100-year life span.[3] The bridge will not be a drawbridge, but will be built with a 55 ft (17 m) vertical clearance above the high water mark. The bridge will also have wider shoulders and sidewalks to better accommodate pedestrian traffic. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021, and should take two years to complete. The federal government is funding 80 percent of the project's cost, with the county share, 20 percent, a release said.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Structure No. 1058770". United States Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Porterfield, Byron (June 4, 1964). "$10 Million Fire Island Bridge To Be Opened to Public June 13". The New York Times. p. 39. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  3. ^ a b c d McGann, Thomas (2019-07-05). "The Bizarre History of the Smith Point Bridge". Fire Island News. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  4. ^ Finn, Lisa (2018-08-24). "All Systems Go For Smith Point Bridge Replacement". Shirley-Mastic, NY Patch. Retrieved 2020-06-26.

External links[edit]