LIRR suspended service could impact 40,000 commuters

James Galloway

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that a scheduled 48-hour suspension of Long Island Rail Road service between Mineola and Hicksvile to demolish the Ellison Avenue Bridge this weekend could cause delays for 40,000 commuters.

From Saturday, May 16 through Sunday, May 17, the LIRR will make no stops between the two stations, and customers on the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson lines should prepare for an additional 40 to 60 minutes of travel time, the MTA announced Monday.

The demolition of the Ellison Avenue Bridge in Westbury is part of a $17.6 million LIRR plan to improve customer safety and replace the 74-year-old bridge, which the MTA press office called “obsolete,” and build a new roadway, sidewalks, curbs and fencing.

The MTA Capital Program-funded project would also improve safety for motorists and pedestrians who use the bridge, the MTA press office said in a release.

The MTA anticipates the new bridge to open in June 2016.

“We regret the inconvenience, but for obvious safety reasons, demolition of the bridge requires a complete suspension of train service between Hicksville and Mineola,” LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski said in a statement. “We are working hard to minimize the impact by providing bus service and re-routing trains. Everyone should consult the special May 16-17 weekend branch timetables to pinpoint the departure and arrival times of their trains and allow for plenty of extra travel time.”

All LIRR branches will have adjusted schedules for the weekend, and Nowakowski encouraged Port Jefferson- and Ronkonkoma-line customers to use alternative LIRR lines if possible, including Babylon, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Port Washington, Oyster Bay or West Hempstead.

The MTA will offer bus service between Mineola and Hicksville for the weekend, and trains between Huntington and Penn Station will operate hourly rather than every 30 minutes.

The updated May 16 and 17 LIRR schedules are available at

Ronkonkoma trains will not stop at Woodside on May 16 or 17, and the MTA urged customers attending the Mets home games to avoid bussing delays by using South Shore train lines.

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